Pelosi and House leadership confident in Capitol Hill COVID testing
With a number of lawmakers contracting COVID-19, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that she has no reason to doubt the reliability of testing provided to members of Congress. Pelosi said she was tested for COVID-19 on Friday and was negative.
“I’m pleased with the reliability of the testing in the Capitol,” Pelosi told CBS. “I think it’s better than what is at the White House or else the president might not have been exposed on the basis of a false negative that may have put him at risk. We don’t know where he got it, but we do know that there was a negative test for somebody with close proximity to the president.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer doesn’t completely agree with the Speaker.
“This episode demonstrates that the Senate needs a testing and contact tracing program for senators, staff, and all who work in the Capitol complex,” Schumer said. “We simply cannot allow the administration’s cavalier attitude to adversely affect this branch of government.”
Lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill often work in extremely close quarters. A number of congressional offices are still operating remotely to help slow the spread but those staffers that are on the Hill are crammed into small offices and many staffers rely on the metro system to commute to work which is another tight squeeze in a time when people should be distancing.
“My confidence in this, respectful of those views, is with the House attending physician who will determine when it is necessary for us to have testing that helps confidence,” Pelosi said. “Their suggestions about that, we have 20,000 employees on Capitol Hill. It’s not just about the members of Congress.”
Pelosi is exercising additional caution now as she is second in the line of succession after Vice President Mike Pence. She said sadly times like these bring the issue of continuity of government and line of succession to the forefront. She does not believe, however, that she needs to quarantine at this time.
“In terms of the succession, that’s an ongoing process,” she said. “Sadly, at this time, it comes to the forefront. But let me just say on this Sunday morning, our prayers are with the president and the first lady and all those who surround him.”
Pelosi said she is not receiving any special briefings on Trump’s condition. She said sadly she is getting updates like the rest of the country…from the news.
PHOTO: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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