The Democrats’ plans to rush a $550 billion infrastructure bill hit a roadblock when Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced he tested positive for COVID-19. Graham is among the ten Republicans who negotiated the infrastructure plan.
He also delivered important votes to move it forward. Graham also said he will quarantine for at least ten days before going back to the Senate. He also confirmed he completed his COVID vaccination even as he contracted the virus.
Lindsey Graham Is Positive For COVID-19
The positive COVID-19 results for Senator Lindsey Graham is a worrisome sign that COVID-19’s delta variant is fast spreading. It poses a risk to lawmakers as they usually meet up even after sessions.
In fact, Graham went to an event over the weekend hosted by Senator Joe Manchin on his houseboat. Many other senators attended the get-together, according to spokesman Kevin Bishop.
Meanwhile, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he tested negative for the virus. At least four other senators confirmed they attended Machin’s party along with Graham. Thankfully, none so far tested positive.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance doesn’t require quarantine for vaccinated people exposed to the virus except when they show symptoms.
No Proxy Votes
Unlike the House of Representatives, the US Senate doesn’t allow proxy voting. This means Lindsey Graham’s decision to quarantine means he will miss votes on the legislation.
This is the complete opposite of what Schumer hoped to do within this week. However, Graham’s absence won’t necessarily hold up the bill. 67 Senators voted to move the infrastructure bill last week. This included 17 Republicans. The bill only requires 60 votes to pass.
However, additional Senators testing positive for coronavirus will delay Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) plans. At present, at least two House members tested positive.
In addition, several congressional staff members also got infected. Asked whether Lindsey Graham’s exposure would affect his budget resolution vote, Schumer said “I hope not.”
Not This Week
Already, many Republicans are looking at working on the bill beyond this week. In fact, some GOP senators opposed the bill, such as Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), want the votes delayed until after the Senate’s August recess.
In addition, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made clear that Republicans will not be rushing for a vote. Instead, they will take the time to hear proposals for amendments. “Just as infrastructure itself is not a luxury but a necessity, the same goes for the Senate having a robust and bipartisan amendment process on the legislation of this magnitude,” McConnell said.
Further delaying the timeline is the death of former Republican Senator Mike Enzi (WY). The retired lawmaker died from a bicycle accident last week, and many colleagues plan to leave Washington to attend his funeral. Services will be held Friday in Wyoming.
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Watch the NBC News reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham tests COVID-19 positive despite being vaccinated:
Do you agree that Democrats led by Senator Chuck Schumer shouldn’t rush the infrastructure bill? Do you see any difference between rushing the bill versus examining it further while Sen. Lindsey Graham finishes his quarantine?
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