July 24 (UPI) — Sen. Dick Durbin said he has tested positive for COVID-19 for the third time in 12 months, which will force him to miss a pivotal vote on defense funding before Congress takes a monthlong break in August.
The Illinois Democrat, who serves as the majority whip, planned to isolate and work from home this week, saying Sunday he would not be present when the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill passed the House with a series of GOP amendments on abortion, climate change and race and transgender rights.
“Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID-19 today,” Durbin announced Sunday on Twitter. “I’m disappointed to have to miss critical work on the Senate’s NDAA this week in Washington. Consistent with CDC guidelines, I’ll quarantine at home and follow the advice of my doctor while I work remotely.”
Majority Democrats were poised to scrap the culture-war amendments in the $886 billion military spending bill and send it back to the Republican-led House for a potential compromise.
While Durbin is away, the Senate will continue to hash out its own version of the funding bill and take a vote before lawmakers head home on Aug. 1.
In May, President Joe Biden declared an end to the national health emergency. Virus-related hospitalizations and deaths were still occurring, but at a much lower rate than during the height of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.