Trump claimed in a Twitter post on Saturday that there is sufficient coronavirus testing capacity for both the US House and Senate and blamed Pelosi – from the rival Democratic Party -- for the House’s refusal to return to Washington, DC on Monday.
“There is tremendous coronavirus testing capacity in Washington for the Senators returning to Capitol Hill on Monday,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Likewise the House, which should return but isn’t because of Crazy Nancy P.”
The US president further asserted that the five-minute “Abbott test” would be used and tagged White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as he also included a direction to “Please inform Dr. Brian P. Monahan,” who serves as the legislature’s dedicated physician.
The Democrat-led House last week abandoned plans to reconvene in Washington on Monday citing advice from Monahan and an increasing number of covid-19 cases in and around the US capital.
Monahan had further emphasized last week that he does not have enough rapid coronavirus tests available for all 100 US senators and that he would likely have to limit the testing to senators and staffers who are sick or displaying symptoms, according to multiple local press reports .
This is while US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azaralso stated late Friday that the administration is sending three Abbott “point of care” testing machines and 1,000 tests over for the Senate to use.
Moreover, Monahan’s office also released guidelines on Friday urging offices to use teleworking, carefully screen visitors, modify office layouts to promote social distancing, and encourage the use of masks or other forms of face coverings.
Meanwhile, Pelosi and the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "respectfully" declined an offer from the Trump administration “to deploy rapid coronavirus testing capabilities to Capitol Hill” ahead of senators' anticipated return to Washington on Monday, CNN reported Saturday.
Instead, the report added, the two congressional leaders said they want "to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities" battling the covid-19 outbreak and that legislators and congressional staff will use "current testing protocols that the Office of the Attending Physician has put in place until these speedier technologies become more widely available."
"Congress is grateful for the Administration's generous offer to deploy rapid covid-19 testing capabilities to Capitol Hill, but we respectfully decline the offer at this time," Pelosi and McConnell said in a joint statement as quoted in the report.
The development came as an official of the US Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions announced that the country’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci will testify before the committee next week.