On Wednesday, nineteen House Democrats sent a letter to the Capitol physician urging him to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or require testing at least twice a week for lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill.
“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Capitol Hill must do everything possible to lead by example and ensure the safety of our own workforce,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician.
“In addition to being members of Congress who walk these halls and rely on your guidance to keep our workplace safe, we are also the managers of teams of dedicated staff members, some of whom are immunocompromised or have other health issues that leave them extraordinarily vulnerable to COVID-19. We feel the utmost responsibility to prioritize the safety of our staff, just as any employer should feel towards those who report them,” the group of Democrats wrote.
“In these cases, or cases in which individuals are unable to, or choose not to, share proof of vaccination, we believe it is reasonable to institute regular testing requirements of at least twice per week.”
All Democrats in Congress are fully vaccinated. Monahan reinstated the mask mandate last week in the House after a handful of vaccinated Congress members were infected with the virus.
Some Republicans are still pushing back at the mask mandate. Representative Mary Miller received a $500 fine for not following the order.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is vaccinated, announced on Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19. The Senator is encouraging others to get the vaccine.
“I feel like I have a sinus infection, and at present time, I have mild symptoms,” the Senator said. “I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination, I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse.”
“The unfortunate politicization of COVID-19 and our life-saving vaccines has already caused our nation immeasurable loss and incalculable pain. To forego the common-sense decision to require vaccination or frequent testing in the halls of Congress due to partisan pressure would call into question the objectivity of how we make health and safety decisions for this institution — and risk members bringing a deadly virus back to their district,” the Democrats wrote.
“We look forward to continuing the conversation about ways that can promote safety on Capitol Hill and appreciate your serious consideration of a vaccine requirement for members and staff of the U.S. Capitol complex. If there is anything we can do to help support these efforts, do not hesitate to let us know.”