Senate Republicans are ridiculing House Democrats for their refusal to return to work on Capitol Hill over COVID-19 concerns.
“I hope hand lotion doesn’t cause cancer, because we’ve been using a lot of it,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) joked to Politico about the copious amounts of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes stationed throughout the Senate chamber and committee rooms.
“The Democratic House of Representatives has essentially put itself on paid leave for months,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday. “At this point, I’m wondering if we should send senators over there to collect their newspaper and water the plants.”
Since the Senate resumed in-person sessions three weeks ago, only one staffer has tested positive for COVID-19 — even though the nation’s capital remains one of its worst coronavirus hot spots, Dr. Deborah Birx of the Coronavirus Task Force said Friday.
“To the degree that no one’s gotten ill, we’re safely opening,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) said. “We cannot stay locked down for 18 months.”
The House last week authorized proxy voting for the first time in its history, allowing almost all of its members to stay home as the pandemic continues — despite Republican objections that the move is unconstitutional.
The Senate has plowed ahead on confirmations in the House’s absence. In the past three days the Republican majority awarded top administration positions to two Trump allies and confirmed three nominees to district court judgeships — for a total of 196 new judges since Trump took office.
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