Sen. Ron Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators call for commission to investigate Capitol attack Wisconsin Democrats make ad buy calling on Johnson to resign Efforts to secure elections likely to gain ground in Democrat-controlled Congress MORE (R-Wis.) has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the third senator to announce in the past two days that they had contracted the virus.

Johnson’s office said in a statement on Saturday that he was exposed to an individual on Sept. 29 who has since tested positive for the virus.

“After learning of this exposure, the senator was tested yesterday afternoon. This test came back positive,” his office said. “Senator Johnson feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms. He will remain isolated until given the all-clear by his doctor."


Johnson’s diagnosis comes as the country is reeling after President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He is now at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a move the White House said was being taken “out of an abundance of caution.”

In addition to Johnson, Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Austin sworn in as nation's first Black Pentagon chief The Hill's 12:30 Report: Next steps in the Trump impeachment MORE (R-Utah) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader Democrats see Georgia as model for success across South MORE (R-N.C.) both said on Friday that they had tested positive for COVID-19.

Unlike Lee and Tillis, Johnson is not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was not at the White House on Saturday for Trump’s announcement that he was picking Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee. 

Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseFormer official acknowledges final days in office a 'black eye' for Trump Republican senators and courage The next pandemic may be cyber — How Biden administration can stop it MORE (R-Neb.), who was at the White House on Saturday, tested negative on Friday but a spokesman said that he would work remotely from Nebraska until Oct. 12 and receive further testing.

The absence of the four GOP senators caps Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Kentucky Republican committee rejects resolution urging McConnell to condemn Trump impeachment Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack MORE's (R-Ky.) normal 53-47 majority at 49 senators.


Before Friday, only two senators had been known to test positive for the virus: Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE (R-Ky.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (R-La.), in March and August, respectively. 

Democratic Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Democrats float 14th Amendment to bar Trump from office Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday MORE (Va.) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocrats looking to speed through Senate impeachment trial Capitol Police officer hailed as hero for drawing rioters away from Senate chamber Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect MORE (Pa.) previously said they had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, an indication they had previously been exposed to the virus.

The uptick in cases in the Senate will likely pour fuel on already simmering frustrations about the lack of a formal testing program in Congress.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus Calls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Do Democrats really want unity? MORE (D-Calif.) and McConnell previously rejected an offer from the White House to have rapid testing at the Capitol, saying at the time that they wanted to keep resources directed to front-line workers.

But several lawmakers on Friday urged congressional leaders to establish a testing program in the Capitol, where lawmakers, who travel back to their home states on the weekend, stay in close contact with each other, their staff and a scaled-back group of reporters.


“This episode demonstrates that the Senate needs a testing and contact tracing program for Senators, staff, and all who work in the Capitol complex. We simply cannot allow the administration's cavalier attitude to adversely affect this branch of government," Senate Minority Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Schumer calls for DOJ watchdog to probe alleged Trump effort to oust acting AG Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. 

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyTensions running high after gun incident near House floor Democrats float 14th Amendment to bar Trump from office Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE (D-Conn.) added that McConnell should require testing for every senator who attended the White House event, saying the potential exposure “could pose a major threat to the safety of the Capitol complex.”

“Furthermore, Senator McConnell needs to finally move forward with a mandatory mask policy in the Capitol complex and implementation of a regular testing program for all Senators and all Senate staff,” he added. 

McConnell, however, gave no signal while speaking in Kentucky on Friday that he intends to either change the Senate’s schedule until the risk of potential exposure is known, or establish a formal testing program.

McConnell, during the event at a Kentucky hospital, also declined to say if he had been tested this week. 

“We're following the advice of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC in how we operate the Senate and so far we've been able to do it quite successfully,” McConnell said when asked about a formal testing regime. 

-- Updated at 10 a.m.