Trump says there’s sufficient coronavirus testing capacity for U.S. House, Senate

President Trump on Saturday said there is sufficient coronavirus testing capacity for both the U.S. House and Senate and blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the House’s not returning to Washington, D.C. next week.

“There is tremendous CoronaVirus testing capacity in Washington for the Senators returning to Capital Hill on Monday,” the president said on Twitter. “Likewise the House, which should return but isn’t because of Crazy Nancy P.”

He said 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 is Congress’s in-house physician.

The Democrat-led House last week abandoned plans to reconvene in Washington, D.C. on May 4, citing advice from Dr. Monahan and an increasing number of cases in and around the nation’s capital.

Dr. Monahan said this week he doesn’t have enough rapid coronavirus tests available for all 100 U.S. senators and that he would likely have to limit the testing to senators and staffers who are sick or displaying symptoms, according to multiple reports.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said late Friday that the administration is sending three Abbott “point of care” testing machines and 1,000 tests over for the Senate to use.

Dr. 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 face coverings.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said if frontline workers can do their jobs amid the pandemic, senators should be able to return to Washington, D.C and do theirs.

Mr. McConnell on Friday said he “strongly” urges his colleagues to consult Dr. Monahan’s guidelines as they get back to work.

“There is critical business waiting for us, including continued action on COVID-19 but also urgent national-security legislation and nominations for key government positions,” the Kentucky Republican said. “We will continue to stand together for the American people — even as we stand six feet apart.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters