Jan 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats postpone annual retreat due to COVID

Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) (R) and Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) hold a news conference.

Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 21, 2021. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday postponed their annual retreat scheduled for Feb. 9 to 11 due to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, Axios has confirmed.

Driving the news: The decision is based on "guidance from the Office of Attending Physician," Democratic Conference Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to lawmakers, Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman reports. Jeffries added that "the health and safety of the Members, their families and staff is our top priority."

  • "Our intention is to reschedule the Issues Conference shortly after President Joe Biden's first State of the Union Address in March, to the extent the public health landscape would permit such a gathering," Jeffries wrote in the letter.
  • In the meantime, House Democrats will hold a "family conversation and full-day virtual messaging summit" on Feb. 10 to "communicate our vision and accomplishments to the American people."
  • House Democrats held a virtual retreat for the first time ever in 2021, per Politico.

The big picture: The move comes as the House of Representatives has ramped up COVID precautions amid a surge in Omicron cases, Axios' Andrew Solender reports.

  • Capitol physician Brian Monahan urged offices to "adopt a maximal telework posture" and encouraged staff to wear KN95 masks instead of cloth or surgical ones, among other measures.

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