57-year-old Kentucky Republican has no symptoms and was tested
out of an "abundance of caution" given his recent travels,
according to a statement, which came as the Senate prepared to
take up a massive economic relief bill.
Other U.S. senators self-quarantined as a precaution in recent
weeks, and at least two members of the House of Representatives
have also tested positive for the highly contagious virus.
It was not immediately clear when Paul was last at the Capitol.
Republican U.S. senators met repeatedly last week, and a CNN
reporter on Twitter posted a photo of him meeting with
colleagues on Friday.
The arrival of the coronavirus in the U.S. Senate threatens to
complicate lawmakers' efforts to pass the spending bill aimed at
shoring up the nation's economy as the crisis shutters huge
swaths of the country.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday he
planned to bring up the legislation for a vote on Monday.
"I think it adds a sense of urgency. I think it creates even
more of an emergency for us to deal with it, so I don’t think we
really have a choice but to get this done tomorrow," Republican
Senator John Thune said.
Members of the Democratic-led House, which must also vote on the
measure if it passes the Republican-led Senate, have also raised
the issue of proximity and risk with in-person voting, and have
urged other options in the face of the pandemic.
"We may lack a quorum shortly if Leader (McConnell) doesn’t
realize the urgency of remote voting," Democratic U.S. Senator
Brian Schatz tweeted. "The Senate still has to do its job, but
there’s simply no reason we have to do it in a bunch of gilded
rooms and infect each other, endangering our ability to pass
Many members of Congress are also aged 60 and older, a group
that public health officials have warned is at greater risk
along with those who have other health conditions.
Paul suffered a lung injury in 2017 during an altercation with a
neighbor that led to six broken ribs.
Republican Senators Susan Collins and Bill Cassidy said
lawmakers should quickly finish the spending bill and adjourn.
"We should maintain our social distancing but once we get
through our business, whenever we’re through with our business,
we should do what every other American is being asked to do,
which is to shelter in place," Cassidy said.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan and David Morgan; Additional
reporting by Linda So; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa
Shumaker and Peter Cooney)
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