Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), speaks to reporters about the proposed Senate Republican tax bill

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants the Senate to reconvene in Washington next week following about a month away as the coronavirus continues to spread in DC and across the country. 

But the Capitol’s attending physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, said the body doesn’t have enough coronavirus tests to administer one to every senator before they begin mingling with each other on the Hill.

This comes as the White House has managed to procure rapid tests for any individual who comes in contact with the president or vice president. 

Senate Democrats have been sharply critical of McConnell’s decision to reconvene next week and some have suggested they won’t return to Washington. 

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants the Senate to reconvene in Washington next week are over a month away as the coronavirus continues to spread in DC and across the country. 

But the Capitol’s attending physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, said the body doesn’t have enough coronavirus tests to administer one to every senator before they begin mingling with each other on the Hill, Politico reported Thursday evening.

Instead, only lawmakers and staffers who have symptoms will be given a test. And the tests the Senate has access to take two days or longer to produce results. 

This comes as the White House has managed to procure rapid tests for any individual who comes in contact with the president or vice president. 

More than half of the 100 senators are over 65 years old, putting them in a high-risk group for COVID-19. Experts and lawmakers are also concerned that bringing the senators and their staff into Washington from all over the country will expose DC residents.

Washington, DC is still under a stay-at-home order, which Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended until May 15. Bowser and the governors of Maryland and Virginia have asked the Trump administration to allow federal workers to continue working remotely. 

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Senate Democrats sharply disagreed with McConnell’s plan to reconvene the chamber next week, citing safety concerns for themselves, their staffs, and all of the Senate’s operational staff, including janitors and security.

“We are going to scrutinize Leader McConnell’s plan very carefully and see if it does provide the needed protection for the staff and the workers that are here,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. 

McConnell has not put any coronavirus-related legislation on the schedule, and will instead ask senators to vote to confirm a host of federal judicial nominees. Some Democrats have suggested they won’t return to Washington if the body isn’t planning on taking up coronavirus-related legislation. 

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