- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The coronavirus is cutting through Congress after lawmakers were forced into close-quarters lockdown amid last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

As of Tuesday morning, three lawmakers said they have now tested positive for COVID-19, tracing their infection back to their hours of confinement while a pro-Trump mob raged through the Capitol.

The latest was Rep. Brad Schneider, Illinois Democrat, who was tested Monday and received his positive result Tuesday.

Mr. Schneider said he was in a room with dozens of fellow lawmakers, several of whom “adamantly refused to wear a mask.” He said the refusers were Republicans.

“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” he said.

Also testing positive after the lockdown are Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor.

Ms. Jayapal, Washington Democrat, said on Twitter that she, too, blames Republicans who refused to wear masks.

“I’m calling for every single member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the sergeant at arms,” she said.

The pandemic has severely disrupted Congress’ normal operations, with the House creating new special voting rules to allow lawmakers for the first time in history to cast their votes by proxy, designating another member to vote on their behalf.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also had a special area constructed for lawmakers who were quarantining so they could show up on the first day of Congress this year and cast votes that made her the speaker.

Even this week’s attempts to oust President Trump will happen at least partially in virtual space, with committee hearings online.

Mr. Schneider said he will vote on impeachment this week via proxy.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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