Two Democratic members of the House of Representatives who were forced to go into lockdown during last week’s siege at the U.S. Capitol announced they have tested positive for COVID-19.
What You Need To Know
- Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) both announced Tuesday they have tested positive for COVID-19
- Jayapal criticized Republican members of Congress who refused to wear masks while locked down in a secured room during last week's Capitol rioting
- On Monday, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey said Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19
- Jayapal called for “serious fines to be immediately levied on every single member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol"
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) released a statement on Tuesday morning that he tested positive for COVID-19, adding that he has "not yet experienced symptoms and am in the care of capable physicians."
Schneider said that he "was forced to spend several hours in a secure but confined location with dozens of other Members of Congress," including "several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask ... even when politely asked by their colleagues."
"Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff," Schneider said.
“Wearing a mask is not a political statement, it is public health guidance, common courtesy, and simply what should be expected of all decent people, he added. "We can no longer tolerate Members coming to the floor or gathering in the halls of Congress without doing the bare minimum to protect those around them."
Schneider called on the House Sergeant at Arms to sanction and remove members of Congress that do not abide by health guidelines.
Earlier Tuesday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said she has tested positive and criticized Republican members of Congress who declined to wear a mask when it was offered to them.
“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them,” Jayapal said. “Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic."
Jayapal’s statement came after Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey said Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
They were among dozens of lawmakers whisked to a secure location when pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. A press release from her office on Monday noted that “a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks.”
Some members of Congress huddled for hours in the large room, while others were there for a shorter period.
Both lawmakers are isolating. Jayapal called for “serious fines to be immediately levied on every single member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol.”
“Additionally, any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be immediately removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms. This is not a joke,” she said. “Our lives and our livelihoods are at risk, and anyone who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy.”
Over the weekend, the Capitol’s attending physician notified all lawmakers of possible virus exposure and urged them to be tested.
Dr. Brian Moynihan wrote Sunday that “many members of the House community were in protective isolation in the large room — some for several hours” on Wednesday. He said “individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection.”