Updated Mar 23, 2020 - Health

Sen. Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office announced on Twitter Sunday.

Why it matters: He's the first U.S. senator to test positive. According to his office, Paul is asymptomatic and was not aware of making direct contact with an infected person.

  • Paul, a licensed physician and notorious deficit hawk, was the only senator to vote against a bipartisan $8 billion deal to provide emergency coronavirus funding earlier this month.
  • He sought to introduce an amendment that would take the funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, but it was voted down 80-16.
  • Paul may be considered a high-risk patient for coronavirus. In August 2019, the senator tweeted that he had part of his lung removed during surgery after it was damaged in a 2017 assault by his neighbor.

What they're saying:

"He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person. He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time. Ten days ago, our D.C. office began operating remotely, hence virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Rand Paul."
— Rand Paul's office on Twitter
  • President Trump tweeted Sunday evening that it is "not good" that his "friend (always there when I’ve needed him!)" has contracted the virus. "He is strong and will get better," Trump said. "Just spoke to him and he was in good spirits."

What to watch: The Senate is set to vote on a massive "Phase 3" coronavirus relief package on Monday. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have proposed a resolution calling for remote voting, which could potentially be prioritized now that a senator has officially tested positive for the virus.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments.

Go deeper

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.

Trump signs $8 billion emergency coronavirus funding package

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump signed Friday a bipartisan $8 billion deal to provide emergency funding to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The Senate passed the bill 96-1 on Thursday, after it flew through the House 415-2 on Wednesday afternoon — marking a rare moment of congressional unity in the face of a public health crisis.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

South Carolina Rep. Joe Cunningham tests positive for coronavirus

Rep. Joe Cunningham. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) has tested positive for COVID-19, the freshman congressman revealed publicly on Friday.

Where it stands: The 37-year-old is the third known member of the House to contract the virus, after Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) announced they tested positive last week. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is the only known senator to have tested positive.