SPONSORED:

Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate

Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDurbin signals he isn't interested in chairing Judiciary Committee Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, are pushing for the chamber to require masks and establish a formal testing program amid a spike in new cases.

The two Democrats introduced a resolution Wednesday that would call for the enforcement of social distancing requirements either in the Senate office buildings or the Senate-side of the Capitol and a contact-tracing program.

“Senate Republicans must join us here in reality and acknowledge that through their inaction, they are creating a truly dangerous situation," Schumer said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

Klobuchar added that the resolution includes "common sense measures our government must have in place to protect the Senate community, including our staff, and to fully function during this pandemic."

The resolution would throw Senate support behind the chamber following public health guidelines and call the lack of a "coordinated and comprehensive COVID–19 strategy in the Senate ... a threat to the legislative branch."

The two Democratic senators are also calling for a ban on a person going to the Senate floor or to a committee after a positive coronavirus test and until a person tests negative, and that any person who has either had the coronavirus or has been exposed to it get two negative tests on separate days before returning to the Capitol. Neither of those details are specifically included in the resolution.

The resolution comes after three GOP senators tested positive for the coronavirus and another three are quarantining due to exposure to their colleagues.

In total five senators are known to have tested positive for the coronavirus so far this year: Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeEnd the American military presence in Somalia Ted Cruz won't wear mask to speak to reporters at Capitol Michigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test MORE (R-Utah), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP coronavirus bill blocked as deal remains elusive Senate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll MORE (R-N.C.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Biden: Johnson should be 'ashamed' for suggesting family profited from their name Graham wants to review ActBlue's source of small-dollar contributions MORE (R-Wis.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (R-La.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulMichigan Republican isolating after positive coronavirus test GOP Rep. Mike Bost tests positive for COVID-19 Top Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate MORE (R-Ky.).

ADVERTISEMENT

Sens. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyHealthcare, retirement security seen as top issues for older voters, lawmakers say The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing MORE (D-Pa.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats have no case against Amy Coney Barrett — but that won't stop them Pence-Harris debate draws more than 50M viewers, up 26 percent from 2016 Five takeaways from the vice presidential debate MORE (D-Va.) have said they have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, suggesting they were previously exposed to the virus.

Tests are available on Capitol Hill for those showing symptoms of COVID-19 or if they've been exposed to a lawmaker who has tested positive.

But lawmakers in both parties have pushed for the implementation of widespread, regular testing of lawmakers — many of whom still travel routinely back to their home states — as well as their staff and press.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Overnight Health Care: CDC expands definition of 'close contact' after COVID-19 report | GOP coronavirus bill blocked in Senate | OxyContin maker agrees to B settlement with Trump administration MORE (D-Calif.) previously rejected an offer for rapid testing from the White House, arguing that resources should go toward the front lines of the health pandemic.

Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerTop Democrats introduce resolution calling for mask mandate, testing program in Senate Trump orders aides to halt talks on COVID-19 relief This week: Coronavirus complicates Senate's Supreme Court fight MORE (D-Md.) discussed the issue of testing last week. McConnell, speaking to reporters in Kentucky on Friday, appeared unconvinced that the Senate needed to ramp up testing after the recent cases.

"We're following the advice of the CDC in how we operate the Senate and so far we've been able to do it quite successfully," he said, referring to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.