“I’d start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask as he speaks,” Brown said from the Senate floor, referring to Sullivan.
“I don’t wear a mask while speaking, like most senators,” Sullivan shot back, remaining maskless. “I don’t need your instruction.”
“I know you don’t need my instruction, but there clearly isn’t much interest in this body in public health,” Brown returned, going on to criticize Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for calling senators back amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic to vote for “judge after judge after judge, exposing all the people… all the staff here — and the majority leader just doesn’t seem to care.”
McConnell’s and Sullivan’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Coronavirus cases are skyrocketing across the country, with a record high of more than 1 million confirmed cases last week alone. More than 247,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 so far.
Several members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, including Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and Don Young (R-Alaska). None of them had traveled back to Washington for the November session yet. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) are in isolation after separately being exposed to people with the coronavirus. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) is returning to Washington on Tuesday after a staff member contracted the coronavirus and caused the senator to quarantine.