Senator Rand Paul Diagnosed With COVID-19.

It was reported a few hours ago that US Senator Rand Paul has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and is in quarantine. This is bad for Senator Paul, and I among many wish him a full recovery as soon as possible, but it may also be extremely bad for the United States.

The Senate has been working on a third Coronovirus Response bill, and had scheduled an initial vote on the bill for about an hour ago. That vote has been rescheduled for 6:00 PM EDT, but may not take place even then. Not only is Senator Paul in quarantine, but Senator Scott (R) from Florida is also self-quarantined because of contact he had with an infected person about 12 days ago.

Senator McConnell has negotiated this latest relief bill solely with his own caucus, and has excluded, since last evening, Democratic participation in the negotiation process. It appears that the Democratic party, having been excluded from the negotiation process, may unite against this Republican effort.

Congress has rules that require votes to be cast in person, and with at least these two Senators absent, and Democrats united in opposition, voting on anything may be problematic. Not only that, but Senator Paul has been in meetings with the Senate leadership, and with the entire Republican caucus, over the last week or so. Nobody knows if he may have infected other Republican Senators. Additionally, Senator Paul was in the Senate gym and swimming pool this AM before he tested positive. There may be any number of Republican Senators who have been infected.

Nobody seems to know where this is going to end, but votes on the latest Senate bill may not take place, absent a change in the rules permitting remote voting. In the meantime, the markets will reopen tomorrow AM, and another bloodbath appears possible. Goldman Sachs estimates 2.5 million unemployment claims in the coming week.

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