Sen. Joe Manchin, a crucial swing vote in the 50-50 Senate, said Monday he tested positive for the coronavirus.
“This morning I tested positive for COVID-19. I am fully vaccinated and boosted and am experiencing mild symptoms. I will isolate and follow CDC guidelines as I continue to work remotely to serve West Virginians,” Manchin (D-WV), 74, said in a Twitter posting.
The moderate Democrat blocked the Biden administration’s pared-down $2 trillion Build Back Better Act that included funds for combating climate change earlier this month, saying “it’s not prudent” with inflation hitting a 40-year high of 9.1% in June.
It was the second time since December that Manchin put the kibosh on the Biden administration’s economic package, with the senator both times raising concerns about increasing spending while the country was experiencing high levels of inflation.
But Manchin has been negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on the scaled-down measure that could be passed using reconciliation, allowing Democrats to bypass the usual 60-vote threshold to pass legislation.
It’s unclear how Manchin’s testing positive will affect the Democrats’ agenda in the Senate because, unlike the House, members cannot vote remotely by proxy.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) announced last Thursday that he also tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating.
And Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), 82, continues to recover after having surgery twice after breaking his hip in a fall at his home in Virginia last month.
President Biden is also isolating at the White House after testing positive for the coronavirus last Thursday.
Along with the Build Back Better Act, Senate Democrats were hoping to vote on a bill to increase semiconductor production in the US and a House-passed bill that would codify protections for same-sex marriage before members left town for the August recess.
With Post wires