Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Sunday, March 22, announced he would be self-quarantining hours after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) became the first member of the U.S. Senate to test positive for CCP Virus (Wuhan coronavirus).
“Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with CDC guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor,” Romney’s office said in a statement on Sunday, adding that he has experienced no symptoms but will be tested.
Romney’s decision came after Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced he would also self-quarantine for two weeks in response to Paul testing positive.
“We’re very unhappy to hear that Rand Paul has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 and wish him the very best … given the health conditions he had in the past, so we will pray for him” Romney said earlier.
Romney’s announcement came less than an hour after the Senate was set to hold a procedural vote on an economic stimulus package to deal with the fallout from the virus pandemic.
Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) had also announced they self-quarantined due to interaction with individuals who tested positive. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Linsey Graham (R-S.C.) are out of isolation after two weeks of self-quarantine. Graham on Sunday said he had received a test for the virus, which came back negative.
President Donald Trump told reporters during the White House press conference it’s “been a long time” since he had in-person contact with Paul. He said he would support allowing Congress members to vote remotely on a temporary basis.
“They’re telling me there’s a reason constitutionally, and there may be, but I would be totally in favor of it on a temporary basis,” he said.
The GOP-controlled Senate failed to move forward with the $1.4 trillion Phase Three stimulus package as Democrats signaled their opposition to the plan.
In the U.S. House, two members have also tested positive for the virus: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah).
As of Sunday, more than 30,000 Americans have tested positive and hundreds have died from the CCP Virus.