- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2022

A handful of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will not be at the State of the Union on Tuesday night because they tested COVID positive on Monday.

At least six members of Congress, one Republican and five Democrats, will not be seated among their colleagues in the House chamber when President Biden delivers his State of the Union address.

Lawmakers, staff and reporters were required to have a COVID negative test immediately before the State of the Union to attend.

However, the House lifted its mask mandate ahead of Mr. Biden’s remarks, making mask-wearing optional throughout the Capitol complex.

The Democrats who tested positive were Reps. Ted Deutch of Florida, Pete Aguilar of California, Suzan DelBene of Washington, and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Sen. Alex Padilla of California. Rep. Mike Bost, Illinois Republican, also received a positive COVID test.

Ms. DelBene said in a tweet she tested positive and that she was fully vaccinated and boosted.

“I will be isolating & working remotely. My office remains fully operational for WA-01 constituents,” she added.

Mr. Aguilar issued a statement Tuesday that he had tested positive and was experiencing mild symptoms.

Mr. Deutch, who recently announced his retirement, tweeted, “today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am glad to be vaccinated and boosted, and although I am experiencing mild symptoms, I am still able to work on behalf of my constituents.”

Mr. Raskin said in a statement that he was disappointed to not to be able to attend President Biden’s State of the Union address in person.

“But I will follow his speech closely — along with my State of the Union guest Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner — and I will be cheering for President Biden’s powerful call to the world to continue to reject in every way possible Vladimir Putin’s illegal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine. All of us must stand strong against authoritarianism and for democracy,” Mr. Raskin said.

Mr. Padilla tweeted Tuesday that “as I do regularly, I tested yesterday for COVID. Late last night, I received a positive test result with a breakthrough case. I’m asymptomatic and grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted.”

He added he would be working remotely and quarantining in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mr. Bost, the only Republican who announced he will not attend the State of the Union due to a positive test COVID, said in a statement he will be adjusting his schedule for the week and isolating, according to the guidance of the Office of the Attending Physician.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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