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House Dems call for mandatory COVID vaccination or twice weekly testing for lawmakers, Capitol Hill staff

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More than a dozen members of the House Democratic Caucus are calling for a mandate that would require members of Congress and staff of the U.S. Capitol complex to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or else get tested twice per week.

"We write to you today to express our belief that the U.S. Congress should be considering a vaccine requirement for Members and staff of the U.S. Capitol complex or, at minimum, twice per week testing for those who are unable to verify positive vaccination status," the letter to Attending Physician for the U.S. Congress Brian Monahan declares.

"We look forward to continuing the conversation about ways that we can promote safety on Capitol Hill and appreciate your serious consideration of a vaccine requirement for Members and staff of the U.S. Capitol complex," the letter states.

The letter said that staff face a heightened coronavirus risk due to visitors coming from throughout the nation and due to the significant amount of domestic and international travel by people who work there.

"We feel the utmost responsibility to prioritize the safety of our staff, just as any employer should feel towards those who report to them," the letter stated. "Many other government agencies, businesses, universities, and hospitals are beginning to implement vaccine requirements. The science is clear that vaccinations can save lives and help guide our country out of this terrible pandemic."

The letter also said that "a vaccine requirement issued by the nonpartisan Office of the Attending Physician may even contribute to the depoliticization of the COVID-19 vaccine on Capitol Hill and back home."

Last week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance that recommended that the fully vaccinated wear masks in indoor public spaces in parts of the country with substantial or high transmission, Monahan issued a memo that stated that "for meetings in an enclosed US House of Representatives controlled space, masks are REQUIRED."

President Biden announced last week that federal government employees must attest to their vaccination status and that those who have not been vaccinated will be required to get tested once or twice per week, wear a mask, and engage in social distancing.

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