US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have rejected an offer of the Trump administration to carry out rapid COVID-19 testing in Congress.
“No reason to turn it down, except politics. We have plenty of testing. Maybe you need a new Doctor over there. Crazy Nancy will use it as an excuse not to show up to work!” US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Pelosi and McConnell said in a joint statement that Congress wanted rapid coronavirus testing to be used where it is most needed and not on Capitol Hill.
“Congress is grateful for the Administration’s generous offer to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing capabilities to Capitol Hill, but we respectfully decline the offer at this time,” the statement says, adding that “Congress wants to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities where they can do the most good the most quickly.”
According to the statement, Congress will rely on the testing and safety guidelines of the Office of the Attending Physician until “speedier technologies” become more widely available.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday that US House lawmakers would not return to the nation’s capital next week, but the US Senate does plan to reconvene on Monday.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, there are over 1.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, including more than 66,000 deaths from COVID-19. In the District of Columbia, over 4,600 cases have been confirmed. The United States remains the country with the largest number of cases and the highest death toll.