Vice President Kamala Harris is demanding any senator, family member, or guest who wants a picture taken with her at the Senate swearing-in ceremony to have a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of the photo.
Breitbart reported Sunday that the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Protocol Office warned all Senate offices of the VP’s requirement.
— New York Post (@nypost) January 2, 2023
The message said that “anyone over two years of age who will interact with the vice president” must present a negative test taken within “24 hours prior to interaction.” No exceptions were made for vaccination status, which of course is supposed to protect everyone.
The email was forwarded from Grisella Martinez, the Director of Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Vice President. It addressed both incoming and newly-reelected Senators who are to appear in the Old Senate Chamber.
The directive cited White House COVID-19 protocols with the same requirement.
All incoming and returning Senators, along with spouses and guests, were required to either take a coronavirus antigen test in a U.S. Senate office building or email a White House-specified address with proof before 9 a.m. on the day of the swearing-in.
Newcomers and those reelected to the upper chamber are sworn in officially at the start of a new Congress. This is followed by a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony with the Vice President, who presides over the Senate and casts tie-breaking votes.
These affairs often become crowded events as senators bring along their families and even grandchildren.
Breitbart News reported that several senators expressed reservations about COVID-19 testing stipulations for younger family members. It further noted that one source close to a senator expressed their reluctance at such a demand “this many years into the pandemic.”
They added that the Biden administration is presently in court arguing that the pandemic is over. It also wanted to lift Title 42 restrictions designed to keep the potentially infected from crossing into the U.S.
And that’s beside the president himself declaring the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. Some senators indicated they may forego the ceremony altogether.
The Biden White House clearly wants to have it both ways. When it is convenient for a photo op, the pandemic is still raging and everyone must prove they are not infected. But when it comes to border security, there is no longer an issue with allowing anyone and everyone into the country.