U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District says he’s under self-quarantine after his son returned from Spain with a possible COVID-19 symptom.
Deutch made the comments on a Thursday morning conference call with reporters.
Deutch was discussing the plan for the House to hold a voice vote on the $2 trillion stimulus package approved by the Senate Wednesday night. He argued a voice vote — which can be conducted without all members appearing in person in Washington, D.C. — was necessary due to precautions surrounding the virus’s spread.
“There are at last count, I think, at least a dozen members who are quarantined,” Deutch said.
“There are many more, like myself, who are in self-quarantine who haven’t said anything about it. My son returned from Spain with some symptoms so we’re self-quarantining. We can’t leave. There are so many members of Congress who couldn’t leave even if they wanted to. And then others who would put themselves at risk.”
Deutch said his son was experiencing a loss of taste and smell, which has emerged as a potential symptom of the COVID-19 virus.
“Over the past few days there have been lots of articles confirming that the loss of taste and smell is a strange symptom of the COVID-19 [virus],” Deutch said.
“So we’ve treated him as if he has it. Fortunately, that’s the only symptom that he’s had. He otherwise feels great.”
He added that he plans to stay under self-quarantine for 14 days since his son returned. Deutch said the period would expire this weekend.
“There are three of us in the house,” Deutch explained. “My wife and I are home with our son. And hopefully by the end of this weekend, we’ll get through our 14 days.”
Deutch also argued that the COVID-19 pandemic should prompt Congress to be flexible in its voting mechanisms. But that flexibility is limited somewhat by House rules, which require members to be present for a full vote.
“So this is the way that we can pass this,” Deutch said of the voice vote procedure.
“A lot of us believe that in a time like this — a unique time with this crisis and this global pandemic — that we should look for ways to be able, just in this instance, to vote remotely. And that’s not possible at this time.”
U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Debbie Wasserman Schultz joined Deutch on that call. They all voiced support for the stimulus package. The members also reiterated calls on Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.