In a joint statement on Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declined President Trump’s offer to provide rapid coronavirus tests for members of Congress.
“Congress is grateful for the Administration’s generous offer to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing capabilities to Capitol Hill, but we respectfully decline the offer at this time,” the statement reads. “Our country’s testing capacities are continuing to scale up nationwide and Congress wants to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities where they can do the most good the most quickly.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tweeted late Friday that 1,000 tests and three rapid-results testing machines were available. The president tweeted today that there was “tremendous CoronaVirus testing capacity in Washington for the Senators” who are due to report back to D.C. on Monday.
Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician on Capitol Hill, had told GOP officials Thursday that there was capacity only to test senators and staff who were sick, Politico reported. Monahan’s office issued safety guidelines for Hill staffers: they aren’t required to wear masks, but masks are recommended. All Hill employees will be required to undergo daily health assessments and temperature checks.