Joe Manchin tests positive for Covid-19

“This morning I tested positive for COVID-19,” Manchin said. tweeted. “I am fully vaccinated and boosted and have mild symptoms. I will self-isolate and follow CDC guidelines while continuing to work remotely to serve West Virginia.”
It’s unclear what effect, if any, Manchin’s isolation will have on Democrats’ efforts to advance their legislative agenda. The Senate has just under two weeks before it is scheduled to start its August recess, and Democrats have expressed hope to pass bills – from protecting same-sex marriage to increasing financing semiconductor production in the United States and changing laws regarding prescription drug prices among other issues – before leaving town for about a month.

As one of the more moderate Democrats in Congress, Manchin represents a significant vote in the 50-50 split Senate, and his support is needed for most legislation split along partisan lines. Perhaps most notably, Manchin was a key negotiator in a package to overhaul Medicare prescription drug prices and expand health care subsidies for Affordable Care Act coverage.

While Manchin can continue to work on his agenda remotely, Senate votes must take place in person. The chamber does not have a proxy voting system for floor votes like the House of Representatives adopted at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Manchin is just the latest Washington lawmaker removed from Capitol Hill due to Covid. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tested positive and had to self-isolate earlier this month, as did a handful of others.
And Covid-19 isn’t the only medical issue affecting the number of House Democrats this summer. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy recovered from a broken hip in June, a rehabilitation that included surgery as recently as last week. Leahy’s office said the senator would be available to vote if needed.

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