WASHINGTON: The office of Republican lawmakers said on Sunday that Rand Paul, a critic of the emergency spending on the coronavirus, is the first U.S. senator to respond positively to COVID-19.
An employee said in a statement that he was isolated but asymptomatic.
When US Senators devised a trillion-dollar bailout plan to help the pandemic-stricken U.S. economy, Paul voted against such emergency funding at least twice.
Paul, who is 57, is the third member of Congress known to have contracted the virus. Two members of the House of Representatives — Ben McAdams of Utah and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida — earlier announced positive tests.
Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky, “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,” said the statement from his staff.
It said Paul was not aware of any direct contact with an infected person. It added that the senator’s Washington office had begun operating remotely 10 days ago, so “virtually no staff has had contact with Senator Paul.”
It was not clear exactly when he was tested.
Paul voted against a $ 100 billion stimulus plan designed to fight the virus on Wednesday.
The bill was passed by 90 votes to 8. It requires free testing of the virus and payment of sick leave for some displaced persons.
The senator, a deficit hawk, argued that Congress should pay for this measure by cutting funding for war or other “flight programs.”
He urged his colleagues to “stop being rubber stamps from waste waste.”
Earlier this month, he opposed bipartisan plans to raise 8 billion for coronavirus in emergencies.