WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBOY) – Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to implement a COVID19 testing program for the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a release from his office that was sent on Wednesday.
According to the release, there is no structured testing program for Members of Congress or essential staff who work in the Capitol Complex at this time. In May, the White House offered Speaker Pelosi COVID-19 rapid tests, however, she declined. Since then, according to officials, more than a dozen members of Congress have contracted the virus and many more have been forced to quarantine.
In the letter, Rep. McKinley wrote the following statement:
Earlier this year you declined the White House’s offer to make COVID rapid tests available to Congress citing the need to direct the limited number of available tests to healthcare facilities and frontline workers as the reason. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been advocating for the testing of Congress stating since May stating, ‘The quick response tests, would allow the government to keep functioning amid a potential outbreak on Capitol Hill.’
In the months since those statements were made, the United States has made great strides in procuring and deploying COVID-19 tests. These tests are no longer the scarce commodities they once were. The House of Representatives should implement a testing regimen for all members. Without a testing policy, members could be unknowingly spreading COVID. Members travel to and from their districts regularly, and many fly, putting themselves, their families, and their staff at risk of contracting COVID.