McCaul tests positive for COVID-19 in latest congressional breakthrough

(The Hill) – Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) revealed on Friday that he tested positive for COVID-19 this week, becoming the latest member of Congress to contract a groundbreaking case of the virus amid the current national surge in cases due to to the omicron variant.

McCaul confirmed that he is fully vaccinated and boosted and that he “recovers every day.” Meanwhile, McCaul said he will cast proxy votes next week “for my health and the safety of others,” in accordance with public health guidelines to prevent further spread of the virus.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19 this week and as a result I will be voting for proxy next week for my health and the safety of others. I am fully vaccinated and boosted. Fortunately, I recover every day. I look forward to working for the TX-10 folks again, ”McCaul wrote in a tweet.

A total of at least 37 members of Congress, 29 in the House and 8 in the Senate, have contracted groundbreaking cases of COVID-19 since the summer, meaning they were vaccinated but still infected with the virus. Typically, those lawmakers have reported that they feel only mild symptoms.

Almost half of the breakthrough cases among lawmakers have occurred since December, when the rise in the virus attributed to the omicron variant began.

The House has not voted on the floor since Dec. 14 and is not scheduled to return from its holiday recess until Monday.

Some Democrats, and just three Republicans, were on Capitol Hill Thursday to mark a year since the Jan.6, 2021 attack on Capitol Hill by a crowd of supporters of former President Trump who tried to prevent Congress from certifying the election results. But the House hasn’t been formally in session for in-person voting and committee work in weeks.

Even with the House and Senate virtually out of session in recent weeks, the Capitol doctor said Monday that the positivity rate at the COVID-19 testing site on campus has skyrocketed below 1 percent. at 13 percent.

Capitol physician Brian Monahan advised Congressional offices to embrace telecommuting as much as possible and to everyone wear higher quality masks like KN95 or N95.

Two other lawmakers revealed earlier this week that they also tested positive for COVID-19: Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minnesota).

Hagedorn, who is battling kidney cancer, said he was “experiencing very mild symptoms” but was hospitalized as a precaution due to his cancer treatment.

House Democrats first instituted proxy voting in May 2020 so lawmakers could still cast votes if they were sick, had to self-quarantine, or couldn’t travel due to COVID-19.

Republicans initially voted almost evenly against establishing proxy voting as a measure to adapt to the pandemic, including McCaul. But since then many Republicans have embraced proxy voting over the past year and a half, including some members of the House Republican leadership.

However, minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Has vowed to eliminate the proxy vote if Republicans take a majority in the House next year.

“I have spent a lot of time thinking about the next Congress. How do we heal this place? If everyone is thinking about running again, for those who win, no more proxy voting. You’ll have to report to work, ”McCarthy said in November during his record-breaking House speech, where he spoke for more than eight and a half hours.

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