Schumer And Klobuchar Introduce Measure To Improve Health And Safety Around Senate Complex

October 7, 2020

Schumer And Klobuchar Call For Robust Testing And Contact Tracing Program, And Stricter Rules For Social Distancing Following CDC Guidelines

Washington, D.C. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Rules Committee Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today unveiled S.Con.Res. 49, a resolution to address the health and safety concerns around the Senate.

The resolution calls for mandatory mask wearing in all public areas of Senate buildings, social distancing per guidance, and calls for the Senate to implement a testing and contract tracing system to be determined by the Office of the Attending Physician (OAP), Secretary of Senate, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms (SAA) in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the D.C. Department of Health, among other actions.

The U.S. Senate has become a COVID-19 hotspot and we need to take immediate action, guided by the best science, to put in place additional protections to safeguard the health of the Senate complex workers, Senate staff, and Senators,” said Senator Schumer.  “Senate Republicans must join us here in reality and acknowledge that through their inaction, they are creating a truly dangerous situation.”  

“I have worked to ensure that the legislative branch can continue to operate since the start of this pandemic,” said Senator Klobuchar.  “This resolution will require mandatory masks and a reliable testing protocol in the Senate. These are common sense measures our government must have in place to protect the Senate community, including our staff, and to fully function during this pandemic. This is critical for continuity of government and our work on behalf of the American people.” 

The actions Sens. Schumer and Klobuchar are calling to be implemented include:

  • A universal mask wearing requirement.
  • A robust testing regime for all who work in Capitol complex.
  • Thorough contact tracing for all who work in Capitol complex.
  • A requirement that persons who had exposure to a COVID positive patient should quarantine for 14 days following that exposure.
  • A requirement that persons who test positive for COVID should quarantine until there have been 10 days since symptoms appeared and 24 hours with no fever.
  • A requirement that, before returning to the Capitol Complex, all persons with either confirmed COVID or known exposure to COVID should produce two negative tests on separate days.
  • A clear ban on going to the floor or committees after a positive test until you prove you are negative.

Leader Schumer also reiterated his call that every Senator and relevant staff participating in the Judiciary Committee must have negative tests on two consecutive days and have completed the appropriate quarantining period, and there should be mandatory testing every day of the hearing.