“Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.”
The Louisville Courier Journal reports that Paul attended a March 7 fundraiser in Louisville where two guests later tested positive for the virus.
On Sunday, multiple news outlets reported that Paul had recently worked out in the Senate gym, and that Paul had also gone swimming and attended a GOP lunch with several of his Senate colleagues before learning of the diagnoses.
CNN reports that four senators were in close proximity to Paul, including Sen. Mitt Romney, and are now self-isolating.
Paul’s office issued a statement on Twitter about his movements throughout the day.
Later in the day, the Senate failed to pass a massive coronavirus relief package that would have sent $1,000 stimulus checks to Americans as close to one-third of the country is under isolation orders to slow the spread of the virus.
Last Wednesday, Paul joined seven Republican colleagues in voting against a $100 billion coronavirus stimulus package that provides free testing, expands unemployment benefits and provides paid sick leave for some workers, according to the Courier-Journal. The measure easily passed on a 90-8 vote.
Reports say Paul proposed an amendment to the bill that would have offset the price tag of the legislation by cutting defense spending and other programs.
“I ask my colleagues to stop wasting money in this time of crisis,” he said, according to the Courier Journal. “Stop being a rubber stamp for wasteful spending —do your jobs and prioritize our precious resources. It is our job and our responsibility to conserve our resources.”
The amendment was shot down by a 95-3 vote, and was met with criticism from Democrats.
“In a time of national emergency, this Republican amendment is ridiculous,” said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, according to the Courier Journal. “A colossal waste of time.”
On March 5, Paul cast the only no vote when the Senate passed $8.3 billion in emergency aid to combat the outbreak.
Sunday’s announcement on Twitter Sunday said Paul’s staff has been working remotely for more than a week.
“He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time,” the tweed stated. “Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul.”
Paul is the third legislator on Capitol Hill to test positive for the virus.
Last week Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah, also announced their own positive diagnoses. Both are quarantined with symptoms but reportedly recovering.
About 15 lawmakers, including Diaz-Balart and McAdams, remain self-quarantined after coming into contact with infected people.
They include Sen. Ted Cruz, who is self-quarantined, and Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Doug Collins of Georgia, who are also isolated after coming into contact with the virus at the recent conservative CPAC conference, according to the New York Times.
Sen. Lindsey Graham also self-quarantined after meeting with two people who later tested positive. Reports say he has since tested negative for the virus. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise is also in self-quarantine after meeting with Diaz-Balart.
The surgery on Paul’s lung was done at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, unlike his previous surgery to repair damage from the attack, according to reports.
Reports say Paul’s neighbor, Rene Boucher, attacked him in 2017. He later pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to 30 days in prison, The New York Times reported in 2018. He was upset over a pile of debris. The attack left Paul with broken ribs and caused pneumonia.