It was just the flu.
A member of the far-left “Squad,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), revealed on Friday that she has tested negative for the coronavirus. The Massachusetts Democrat, who has asthma, said that she is at home recovering from a bout with influenza and thanked those concerned for her health.
“I am relieved to report that I have tested negative for COVID-19,” Pressley said in a statement. “I am touched by the outpouring of support and concern for me and my family.”
“Squad” member tests negative
Pressley, who is among a group of four progressive lawmakers known as “the Squad,” revealed on Wednesday that she had taken the test after experiencing flu-like symptoms. The Democrat explained that she was considered vulnerable because she is asthmatic and had come into contact with an unspecified colleague who had the virus.
Two more lawmakers, Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), announced that they had the virus on Friday, bringing the tally to five, Reuters reported. Previously, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ben McAdams (D-UT) had tested positive.
Numerous lawmakers are in quarantine as well. Pressley’s fellow lawmaker from Massachusetts, Rep. Seth Moulton (D) is symptomatic and isolating at home.
“On (March 19), I began feeling unwell with a low-grade fever and a concerning tightness in my chest, to a degree I’ve never felt before, that lasted several days. I have also had a sore throat, though no serious cough, along with body aches and unusual fatigue,” Moulton said. “My wife, Liz, has had similar symptoms.”
Absent for major vote
Pressley, noted for her far-left political views, has notably called for the “compassionate release” of many federal prison inmates to protect them from the virus. She was not present for a voice vote on Congress’s massive, $2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill on Friday. Her colleague and fellow “squad” member, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), was. She blasted the bill as a “shameful” giveaway to corporations that gave only “crumbs” to working people.
“One of the largest corporate bailouts … in American history. Shameful,” Ocasio-Cortez said on the House floor. “The greed of that fight is wrong, for crumbs for our families.”
The bill was passed, despite a last-minute attempt by libertarian-ish Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) to force a roll-call vote, rather than a more expeditious voice vote. Massie’s threats to hold up the bill prompted lawmakers to scramble to Washington, D.C., and as a result a quorum was present to blow past the hurdle. The bill was ultimately passed by voice vote, and Trump signed it.
The episode capped off a week of intense political drama surrounding the bill, which struggled to get through the Senate amid partisan disagreements and the absence of several Republicans in quarantine.
Pressley expressed sympathy for the virus’s victims and their families, saying, “My heart goes out to, and I continue to send prayers up for those battling this virus, and the surviving family members of those who have tragically already passed,” she said. “I am grateful for the safe, compassionate and efficient response by health care providers at Massachusetts General Hospital, who treated me and the dozens more who had presented with COVID-19 symptoms that day.”