WASHINGTON ― Short of going to the hospital, there isn’t much help for normal people if they catch the coronavirus. But if a member of Congress contracts COVID-19, they have a special number they can call.
According to an email obtained by HuffPost, the White House has created an “emergency” hotline for congressional lawmakers should they get sick or have issues in their districts related to the coronavirus. The email sent from the White House to members of Congress notes that this hotline ― which is being manned by former Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), a doctor ― is “only for emergencies.”
“To reiterate, this hotline is to be used for emergency coronavirus-specific questions and inquiries,” the email reads (italics and bold in the original).
That doesn’t mean the number is just to serve lawmakers if they get sick. A senior White House official confirmed to HuffPost that the hotline is meant for members to inquire about emergency issues they might be having in their states and districts. But it is also a potential access point to serve them if they do contract the coronavirus.
The email from the White House notes that this number is to be distributed to “Members and Senators only,” and includes a list of agency numbers and emails for nonemergency issues.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and four House lawmakers ― Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) ― have already tested positive for the coronavirus, and a number of other lawmakers have undergone self-quarantines over potential exposure. Paul was able to get a COVID-19 test despite showing no symptoms of the virus.
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