Democrats, heeding the advice of the Capitol physician, have canceled plans to return to D.C. next week.
GOP House members are angry that Democratic leaders are heeding the advice of medical experts during a national health crisis.
Republicans were critical this week of an announcement from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer that the House would not reconvene in Washington, D.C., on May 4 as originally planned. Democratic leaders made the decision based on the advice of Brian Monahan, the House physician, according to Roll Call.
"The House doctor, when I talked to him yesterday, was concerned because the numbers in the District of Columbia are going up," Hoyer said.
Monahan spoke "forcefully" of his concerns about members returning to the DC area, Hoyer added.
According to Monahan, it is safer for members to travel to the Capitol to cast votes and then leave rather than stay in the city for extended periods of time.
Republicans lashed out following that announcement.
"The American people need to see Congress in action and not sitting on the sidelines," Rep. Virginia Foxx, a 76-year-old Republican from North Carolina, tweeted on Wednesday. "'Where's Waldo'? No, it's 'Where Are The Democrats?'"
"Nurses, truckers, and grocery store workers are working — so should Congress!" Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. Massie also mocked Democratic leaders for listening to experts, writing, "In which Article of the Constitution does it mention that a 'House Physician shall direct members of Congress when they shall convene'?"
Rep. Glenn Grothman a 64-year-old member from Wisconsin, echoed those frustrations. "Last night we were told the House would return to Washington next week. Today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi reversed her decision. Construction workers, factories, food processors, farmers, grocery store employees and many more are all working. Congress should join them and begin to re-open safely!" he wrote on Facebook.
Rep. Steve Scalise, the 54-year-old House minority whip, tweeted a similar complaint. "People NOT showing up for work next week: House Democrats. Tells you all you need to know," he added.
Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, complained on Facebook that farmers were already "planting crops" and "truckers are delivering goods."
"These workers are showing up. So should Congress," he wrote.
Already, at least six members of Congress — five House members and one senator — have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that older Americans are at higher risk for severe illness from the new coronavirus. More than 250 members of the House were born before 1965, making them part of the Baby Boomer or Silent generations that are particularly susceptible to COVID-19.
The CDC has advised that older Americans stay at home if possible.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 1 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 53,034 people have died.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.