Senate Democrat leader Schumer tests positive for COVID, works remote as Congress returns from break

Upper chamber trying to vote on several key issues including finalizing a multi-billion spending bill before August recess.

Updated: July 11, 2022 - 7:49am

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing "very mild symptoms," his spokesman said Sunday. 

"As a part of his regular testing regimen, leader Schumer received a positive test result for COVID-19," spokesman Justin Goodman said. "The leader is fully vaccinated and double boosted, and has very mild symptoms."

Schumer, a New York Democrat, says he will isolate and work from home this week, as the Senate convenes Monday following its extended July 4th recess. 

His absence, which will keep him from voting, could create challenges for Senate Democrats trying to get enough votes for a multi-billion spending bill – which includes provisions to raise taxes and lower the cost of prescription drugs – before August recess, in the evenly-divided upper chamber.

Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy is also temporarily away from Capitol Hill recovering from hip surgery.

Schumer is the latest high-profile lawmaker in Washington to test positive. Over the last few months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris each tested positive.

COVID cases across the country have been on the rise as the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the virus become the dominant strain, now constituting more than 70% of new infections in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.