(Image Credit – Gage Skidmore)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined the White House’s offer to have COVID-19 tests provided to Congress members.
Both congressional leaders want all resources, including tests, directed to the forefront of the crisis.
The Senate will reconvene in the coming week to discuss the possibility of another relief package. While White House economic advisor Kevin Hasset has stated that there might be no need for another relief package, other Congress members on both sides of the aisle have reiterated their desire to provide another relief package.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the decision was up to the two congressional leaders.
HHS Secretary Azar tweeted the following regarding testing in the Congress late on Friday.
Good news: as the Senate reconvenes to do important work for the American people during this public health crisis, we have now received an initial request and are sending 3 Abbott point of care testing machines and 1,000 tests for their use.
— Secretary Alex Azar (@SecAzar) May 2, 2020
As the country is reeling from the pandemic, each test counts. While the selflessness of the move is laudable, it is important to remember that many Senators and House Reps are more vulnerable to the virus due to old age and pre-existing conditions.
The last thing the country needs right now is an outbreak of the virus at the Senate or House floor.
Testing in the White House
In the White House, unlike Congress, COVID-19 tests are fairly common. Both President Trump and VP Pence are tested regularly for the virus along with senior officials who come in regular contact with the president. These include chief of staff Mark Meadows, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and the vice president’s chief of staff Marc Short.
The Senate plans to confirm some more nominees from President Trump for the judiciary. This hasn’t gone down well with Senate Democrats. They want to focus on the pandemic response and another stimulus package right now.