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Rob Portman Tests Positive For COVID

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman became the latest lawmaker to announce that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Portman said that he was asymptomatic and that he had taken a test as a precaution before heading back to Washington, D.C., to begin Congress’ second session. He added that he would quarantine for the five days recommended and would not be in D.C. for votes until next week.

Multiple lawmakers from both parties have announced a positive test in the past month as the Omicron variant has fueled surges across the country.

Though Portman is the only senator to announce a positive COVID-19 test in recent days, he is not the only senator expected to be absent from D.C. this week. New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is reportedly recovering from shoulder surgery after he fractured it in December on the way to a Senate vote, meaning that both Republicans and Democrats will likely be without a member until Monday, at least.

The Senate planned to return Monday, but it moved its business to Tuesday after a massive snowstorm dumped nearly a foot of snow on the nation’s capital, with more falling across some areas of Maryland and Virginia. Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said that he was one of thousands of drivers stranded on I-95 for hours Monday amid the storm, and many remained on the highway until Tuesday.

The federal government is scheduled to reopen Tuesday after shuttering its offices Monday. While the Senate is set to convene, the House is out until Jan. 10.

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