Lawmaker tests positive, leaving congress rattled

Anna Moneymaker-Pool  Getty Images

Anna Moneymaker-Pool Getty Images

Members and staff will not be allowed to enter if they don't wear masks.

During Tuesday's hearing, Committee Chairman Representative Jerry Nadler, a Democrat, scolded several Republicans, including ranking member Jim Jordan, for failing to wear masks.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) responded first with sympathy for Gohmert, then with consternation for his actions, which likely put others at risk for contracting the disease.

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McCarthy advised his members to check in with their staff because they shouldn't assume that they are comfortable working in the office, according to a source in the room.

"For members of Congress who are going back and forth, they represent sort of the flawless petri dish for how you spread a disease", said Sen. She said failure to wear a mask is a "serious breach of decorum" and members could be removed from the chamber if they aren't wearing one. "I was left feeling guilty for teleworking even though I have an underlying health condition".

"Congressman Louie Gohmert - who has proudly defied those calling for mask-wearing over the last month, he wore one occasionally, but not happily, and bragged about when he didn't - has now been diagnosed with coronavirus", Berman said. Floor staffers also enforced compliance by telling members to pull up masks that were slipping under their noses.

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"There is a general fear that saying anything critical of the current office policy - or lack of policy - will lead to retaliation", an aide said to Politico.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier is not at all thrilled with her colleague, Congressman Louie Gohmert, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 and earned himself the nickname "Congressman Covid". Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that he has not seen O'Brien "in a while".

All 535 Congress members have their own office and employ their own staff, meaning workplace rules and practices differ based on the individual one works for.

Rep. Rodney Davis (Ill.), the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, also delivered a presentation in the meeting about the health and safety precautions that congressional offices should be following.

Later in the interview, Gohmert reiterated that "I can't help but think that if I hadn't been wearing a mask so much in the last 10 days or so, I really wonder if I would have gotten it".

Gohmert's case renewed a debate on Capitol Hill about whether lawmakers traveling from other parts of the country should be tested when they return to Washington.

Republican Representatives Mike Johnson and Kay Granger and Democratic lawmaker Raúl Grijalva said they would self-quarantine after being in contact with Gohmert.

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