Senate back in session while some question if it’s too early

Washington D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Senators returned to Washington Monday, even though some worry it’s not safe yet.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said he and many of his fellow Senate Democrats think a return to Washington right now is a bad idea.

“We have all registered that we think it’s not safe,” Brown said.

COVID-19 infection and death rates continue to rise across the D.C. metro area.

“It’s not so much about senators coming back as it is opening up the whole Capitol with a skeleton crew, but a skeleton crew is still hundreds of moderately low income workers,” Brown said.

He said that includes food service workers, support staff and Capitol police officers.

“I certainly feel badly for them, having to be exposed to all of us coming in from all over the world,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

Portman said he also shares concern for those workers, but looks forward to a return.

“My hope is that all my colleagues will follow the rules and we can be safe not just for ourselves, but for the people we’ll be exposed to,” he said.

In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declined a White House offer to send rapid test kits to the Capitol, saying the tests are needed more elsewhere.

The Capitol physician is urging senators to follow CDC guidelines.

“I’m going to keep my distance,” Portman said. “I’m going to wear a mask when I’m on the floor.”

Safety measures like frequent cleanings and social distancing will be in place during all floor votes this week.

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