Sens. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, have tested positive for COVID-19, they both announced Monday.
“This morning I tested positive for COVID-19,” Manchin said. “I am fully vaccinated and boosted and am experiencing mild symptoms. I will isolate and follow CDC guidelines as I continue to work remotely to serve West Virginians.”
Murkowski also tweeted out her diagnosis, saying, “After experiencing flu like symptoms I recently tested positive for COVID-19. I will be following guidance and advice from doctors and will be quarantining at home in Alaska while continuing my work remotely.”
Meanwhile, a letter from President Biden’s physician said his COVID-19 symptoms “have now almost completely resolved,” after he tested positive last Thursday.
Manchin, the chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, said earlier this month he would not support major climate change spending right now due to inflation, but said he is open to negotiations at a later time.
Manchin’s position comes a little more than a year after President Biden pledged to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030.
Democrats are trying to advance several pieces of legislation this week before heading out on August recess. One of those is a reduced version of the president’s economic agenda focused on healthcare spending. That measure is being passed through the process known as budget reconciliation, which would require all members of the Democratic caucus present to pass. So Manchin’s absence on top of that of Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, recovering from a fall, and the uncertain return of Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, risks delaying that bill.
They are also attempting to pass a bill to boost domestic production of semiconductors, which has some Republican support, so it’s unclear whether these Democratic absences are a hurdle or a roadblock for that bill.
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