Politics

Sen. Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus

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Key Points
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first known U.S. senator to test positive. 
  • He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends. No staff member has been in contact with Paul since his D.C. office began working remotely 10 days ago.
  • Paul was the only senator to vote against the first round of emergency coronavirus funding of $8 billion earlier this month.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) takes an elevator at the U.S. Capitol for a vote on March 18, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first known U.S. senator to test positive. 

"Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling fine and is in quarantine," Paul's office wrote on twitter. "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. No staff member has been in contact with Paul since his D.C. office began working remotely 10 days ago, according to the tweet. 

But his diagnosis has set off concerns over whether other GOP senators who Paul was likely in contact with should immediately self-quarantine. That's triggered additional worries over how Congress will pass the major coronavirus economic stimulus legislation, as Democrats and Republicans have not yet reached a deal. 

Paul was the only senator to vote against the first round of emergency coronavirus funding of $8 billion earlier this month.

Two members of the House – Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah – have tested positive, adding urgency to their efforts to hold votes on an economic relief package. Several other House members said they had self-quarantined in recent days because of exposure to infected people.

The office of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Ut., said Sunday that Romney will not vote on the Senate floor and will immediately self-quarantine since the senator has been in contact with Paul in recent days. Romney has no symptoms but will be tested for the virus, his office said. 

Paul is one of the most hawkish senators on fiscal policy, often arguing against new spending. He has repeatedly signaled opposition to the massive, multi-trillion dollar spending packages being negotiated by the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

He has instead proposed smaller measures including a payroll tax holiday and temporary enhancements to state unemployment programs.

As the virus continues to rapidly spread across the country, there is growing concern that more government leaders will become infected.

President Donald Trump tested negative for the virus after contact with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's press secretary, who tested positive. Vice President Mike Pence also tested negative after a member of his office tested positive.

— CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report