As Grassley Tests Positive, Virus Threatens to Stall Work in Congress

Several Republicans, together with lawmakers who’ve had Covid-19, proceed to resist carrying masks elsewhere in the Capitol, and a nasty spat broke out in regards to the apply on Monday on the usually decorous Senate ground.

Late final week, House Democratic leaders abruptly reworked an elaborate dinner in Statuary Hall for his or her new members right into a grab-and-go meal after dealing with a backlash on-line and internally for internet hosting such an occasion when most Americans are being warned to curtail or cancel vacation plans. And throughout orientation for brand new lawmakers — which had already been largely subdued due to the virus — Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon-backing Republican, proudly introduced in the center of a dialogue of pandemic security that she had denounced face coverings.

It is a dynamic that bodes poorly for attendance in the waning days of the 116th Congress. On Tuesday, the absence of Mr. Grassley and Mr. Scott quickly stalled the affirmation of Judy Shelton, Mr. Trump’s Fed nominee, after Republicans fell in need of the assist mandatory to advance to a remaining vote.

“There’s this kind of macho, ‘Well, I’m not afraid of Covid’ thing going on,” mentioned Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, who has one of many longest congressional commutes and has instructed his total workers to work remotely. “We have to run the government — that’s our obligation. Our obligation is not to show that we’re personally unafraid, because we have to pass legislation to address this crisis, and we’re no good to anybody if we’re sick or quarantining.”

The partisan divisions had been additional underscored by a tense trade on Monday night between Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, and Senator Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, whereas Mr. Sullivan was presiding over the chamber.

When Mr. Brown rose to converse, he requested Mr. Sullivan, whose masks was off and mendacity on the desk in entrance of him, to “please wear a mask,” in half to defend the workers members required to sit on the dais slightly below, at a distance nearer than the six toes advisable for correct distancing.

“I don’t wear a mask when I’m speaking, like most senators,” shot again Mr. Sullivan, who wears a masks across the Capitol however removes it to converse on the ground. “I don’t need your instruction.”

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