Cornyn tests positive for COVID-19

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) announced on Monday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, which could further complicate the math of floor votes for Republicans and Democrats at the start of a busy week for the Senate.

“After dodging it for 2+ years I’ve tested positive for COVID-19,” Cornyn wrote on Twitter.

“I’m fully vaccinated and boosted, and doing fine,” he said. “While quarantining I’ll continue to fight Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin’s massive tax increase on working families remotely, consistent with CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines.”

Senate Democrats this week are hoping to pass their multibillion-dollar climate, tax and health care package, which was announced by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday. Republicans are expected to unanimously oppose the measure, and the GOP has criticized the West Virginia Democrat for backing it.

The package, which the duo have framed as inflation-fighting legislation, invests $369 billion in energy and climate programs, allocates $64 billion to extend Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years and allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

The bill also raises new revenue by establishing a 15-percent minimum corporate tax for companies with profits exceeding $1 billion, providing funding for the Internal Revenue Service to enforce the nation’s tax law and closing the carried interest loophole for money managers.

Schumer and Manchin are aiming to pass the package under reconciliation, an arcane budget rule that avoids the Senate’s 60-vote threshold required for most bills. 

After the parliamentarian reviews the package to ensure it can move forward under reconciliation rules, the bill would need a simple majority to pass in the 50-50 Senate, where Vice President Harris casts any tiebreaking votes.

Democrats are also closely watching moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has not yet announced a position on the reconciliation package.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the Senate majority whip, announced on Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus, and it is unclear when he will return to the Capitol.

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