Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva became the latest lawmaker to test positive for coronavirus, he confirmed on Saturday. Grijalva, a Democrat whose district includes parts of the Phoenix and Tucson areas, has been in isolation since Texas Republican Louie Gohmert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. The two had been at a hearing together on Tuesday. “I currently have no symptoms, I feel great and hope to be able to recover quickly and quickly,” Grijalva said.
In a statement on Saturday, Grijalva harshly criticized his colleagues who refuse to take precautions against the coronavirus. “While I can’t blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that some members of Congress are not taking this crisis seriously,” he said. “Many Republican members regularly strut around the Capitol without masks to make a selfish political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff and families. Grijalva, 73, then praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for forcing lawmakers and their staff to wear masks. “Stopping the spread of a deadly virus shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” he said.
Grijalva will continue to self-isolate in Washington, DC. “He’s feeling great and just resting,” communications director Geoff Nolan said on Saturday. Nolan said several staff in Grijalva’s office would also be tested, but stressed the lawmaker always wears a mask when on Capitol Hill.
Grijalva is the 10th House lawmaker who is known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19, according to the Wall Street Journal. On the Senate side, a Democrat – Sen. Tim Kaine – and a Republican – Sen. Rand Paul – have tested positive for the virus.
Following Grijalva’s diagnosis, minority leader Kevin McCarrthy, a Republican from California, asked Pelosi on Twitter, “Where’s your screening plan?” Gohmert’s diagnosis last week once again brought to the fore a debate over testing in Congress. In early May, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined an offer from the White House for rapid-result coronavirus tests, arguing that medical institutions increasingly needed them. But now McCarthy and several senior Senate Republicans have called for an increase in testing on Capitol Hill. “There are over 50 million tests that have taken place in America before, but the only place that doesn’t happen is in Congress. I cannot understand why the speaker continues to refuse, ”McCarthy told reporters on Thursday. “Is it simply because the offer came from the administration?” Pelosi said any testing program on Capitol Hill must take into account the thousands of people who work there, not just lawmakers and their aides. “It’s not for Senator McConnell and me. As far as I’m concerned, it depends on the doctor on Capitol Hill, ”Pelosi told reporters on Friday. “There are about 20,000 people who operate the Capitol. And the Capitol doctor has yet to say he thinks we should be tested. But it’s not just us, it’s others too.
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