Senators Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski test positive for Covid-19

·3 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Senator Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski tweeted on Monday morning that they had tested positive for Covid-19, jeopardizing Democrats’ plans to pass their proposed social spending bill before the Senate leaves for August recess.

Mr Manchin said in the tweet that he tested positive, but was experiencing mild symptoms since he was fully vaccinated and had received a booster vaccine.

“I will isolate and follow CDC guidelines as I continue to work remotely to serve West Virginians”, he said.

Similarly, Ms Murkowski tweeted that she tested positive after she experienced fly-like symptoms.

“I will be following guidance and advice from doctors and will be quarantining at home in Alaska while continuing my work remotely.”

Mr Manchin and Ms Murkowski’s illnesses are just the latest after Democratic Senators Tom Carper of Delaware and Tina Smith of Minnesota also tested positive for Covid-19.

Currently, the Senate is planning to vote of a major piece of legislation to support the manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States to compete with China. Ms Murkowski is one of a handful of Republicans who supports same-sex marriage at a time when Democrats are hoping to codify it.

The West Virginia Democrat’s illness also comes as Mr Schumer has attempted to negotiate with Mr Manchin to pass a pared-down social spending bill. The two had been neogtiating a bill that would have focused on combating climate change, capping prescription drug prices, extending subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and rolling back some of the tax cuts former president Donald Trump signed into law.

The much smaller legislation is meant to be a compromise after Mr Manchin announced his opposition to Build Back Better, Democrats plan to pass the legislation through the process called budget reconciliation, wherein they can sidestep a filibuster as long as legislation is related to the budget. But as Democrats have only 50 Senate seats, they need every Democrat to support legislation passed through reconciliation, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

But Mr Manchin said he wanted to put a pause on the climate and taxation aspects of the legislation after the Consumer Price Index report for June showed that inflation jumped by 9.1 per cent in 12 months.

Mr Manchin’s illness coincides with the Senate entering its final two weeks before Congress heads back home for its August recess.

President Joe Biden posted a picture of himself working, alongside his dog Commander, as doctors said he was continuing to use Paxlovid for his Covid infection, but that his symptoms were almost completely resolved.