House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday pressed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to expand rapid coronavirus testing for Congress.
“The need for testing throughout Capitol Hill campus remains immediate,” Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, said in a letter to Mrs. Pelosi.
“By failing to adequately protect the people who work in this institution, your majority has created unnecessary risk and confusion for members, staff, press, and all employees of the House,” he said.
In May, Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, had rejected the Trump administration’s offer to deploy rapid testing to Capitol Hill, saying the key supplies should be reserved for frontline workers.
Mrs. Pelosi said on Wednesday evening that she consulted with the Capitol physician when the White House made the offer.
“It’s just not the members of Congress,” the California Democrat said on CNN. “It’s the members of Congress and support staff and that’s very many people. We can’t say, well, as members, we should get tested but the other people shouldn’t.”
On Wednesday, Mrs. Pelosi announced a mask mandate for the House chamber.
A separate memo from the House sergeant at arms and the Capitol’s attending physician said people entering House office buildings have to wear a face covering starting on Thursday, with some exceptions.
The announcements came following news that Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, tested positive for the coronavirus just before he was supposed to fly to Texas with President Trump.
Mr. Gohmert said he might have contracted the virus from wearing a mask too much.
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