On Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Paul “is feeling fine and is in quarantine,” according to his Senate Twitter account. “He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.”
The bill also contained provisions to enable free coronavirus testing and expanded Medicaid, food assistance, and unemployment benefits.
On March 5, Paul was the only senator to vote against the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the first congressional response to the coronavirus outbreak. That bill contained $8.3 billion for a variety of responses, including funding dedicated to research and development of vaccines and $2 billion for federal, state, and local governments to prepare for and respond to the growing outbreak.
On Wednesday, Paul made headlines when he attacked immigrants as “non-people” when discussing an amendment to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
“My amendment says that if you want to apply for money from the government through the child tax credit program — this is money that the government gives to people — that you have to be a legitimate person, you have to have a Social Security number,” Paul said on the Senate floor.
“We’ve been talking about this reform for a decade now and we never seem to be able to get it passed. It has nothing to do with not liking immigrants, it has to do with saying taxpayer money shouldn’t go to non-people,” Paul added.
While Paul was waiting for his test results to come back, he worked out at the Senate gym and attended a meeting with other senators. After Paul’s positive test, both Republican senators from Utah — Mitt Romney and Mike Lee — placed themselves in quarantine due to their recent proximity to Paul.
Paul’s decision to be near others while waiting for his results did not sit well with Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).
Paul’s behavior “is absolutely irresponsible,” Sinema tweeted on Sunday. “You cannot be near other people while waiting for coronavirus test results. It endangers others & likely increases the spread of the virus.”
Paul is the first senator, and the third member of Congress, with a confirmed case of the coronavirus. The other two are Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ben McAdams (D-UT). McAdams was hospitalized on Sunday night with severe shortness of breath.
As of Monday morning, at least 33,018 people in the United States have tested positive for the virus, according to the New York Times, and at least 428 people have died.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.