Updated Mar 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Matt Gaetz tests negative for coronavirus after contact with confirmed patient

Rep. Matt Garth. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

Rep. Matt Gaetz tested negative for the novel coronavirus after entering self-quarantine Monday due to contact with an individual at CPAC who was confirmed to have the illness.

Why it matters: Gaetz was traveling with President Trump on Air Force One about an hour before his office announced that he would go into self-quarantine.

Between the lines: Gaetz received pushback last week for wearing a gas mask on the floor of the House as Congress weighed emergency coronavirus funding. Many viewed the stunt as making light of the situation.

The big picture: Multiple members of Congress have self-quarantined after a CPAC attendee tested positive for COVID-19 last week. CPAC speakers included President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and various members of Congress were in attendance.

  • The American Conservative Union said in a statement: "This attendee had no interaction with the president or the vice president and never attended the events in the main hall."
  • The attendee is currently receiving medical care in New Jersey and under quarantine.

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Exclusive: Congressmen reintroduce bill to allow members to vote from home districts

A tour operator, wearing a protective mask, gestures as he leads a tour near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 9. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) are reintroducing a 2013 bill that would enable members of Congress to virtually participate in committee hearings and vote remotely on suspension bills from their home districts amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to an advanced copy of the press release obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Congress, which is tasked with governing the country out of the coronavirus crisis, could quickly become a dangerous place for members and staffers, many of whom are over the age of 60 — the age group the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised to stay home as much as possible.

Sen. Maria Cantwell staffer tests positive for the coronavirus

Sen. Maria Cantwell at the U.S. Capitol in January. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A staffer in the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is in insolation after displaying symptoms of the novel coronavirus for which they subsequently tested positive, a statement released Wednesday night confirms. The office is now serving constituents remotely.

Why it matters: This is the first known case of a congressional staffer becoming infected with the virus. "The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 has had no known contact with the senator or other members of Congress," the statement notes. "The senator is requesting that testing be done on any other staffers who have been in contact with the individual and show symptoms."

Go deeper: Lawmakers self-quarantine after contact with confirmed coronavirus cases

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the case.

Mike Pence to local schools: It's OK to shut down over coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence appears in a pre-taped interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" in Washington, D.C. Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC

President Trump would "respect any decisions that are made at the state and local level" on actions to combat the novel coronavirus, including school shutdowns, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC in an interview airing Sunday.

Why it matters: COVID-19 is a major challenge for the Trump administration, with 66 infections and one death from the virus in the U.S., per a CDC statement Saturday. A poor response could be "politically devastating" for them, Axios' Alayna Treene and Sam Baker note.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 1, 2020 - Health