HOUSTON — A sixth Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives who traveled to Washington D.C. last week has tested positive for the coronavirus, CBS News confirmed Tuesday.
The six lawmakers are among House Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C. to stave off GOP priority voting bills during the special legislative session. The members who tested positive all have been fully vaccinated, which helps protect against severe illness. All of the lawmakers are showing no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
As a precaution, we're told all of the groups meetings Tuesday will be virtual.
The House Democratic Caucus announced on Saturday that three Democrats had tested positive. After further precautionary testing, two more members tested positive for COVID-19, the caucus announced late Sunday.
They released on Sunday the following statement:
"In light of some positive COVID-19 tests over the weekend, the House Democratic Caucus has decided to go beyond CDC guidance and provide daily rapid tests for all Members and staff in Washington D.C. for this week. As part of this precautionary testing, today two additional Members who were fully vaccinated tested positive. All of the HDC Members who tested positive are feeling good, with no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
"The HDC will, and asks others to, respect the privacy of Members and their personal health. The caucus will provide updates as warranted."
San Antonio Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer said Sunday he was among the two new positive tests.
"Today, I received a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen test result. I am fully vaccinated, and had tested negative on Friday and Saturday. I am quarantining until I test negative, and I am grateful to be only experiencing extremely mild symptoms," he said in a statement, which urged the public to get vaccinated and said he will continue to participate in the quorum break.
Martinez Fischer spoke to KHOU 11 from his hotel room in D.C. He said he feels good despite his positive result.
“There’s an instant reaction of 'OK, how did that happen? I don’t feel anything.' And then there’s this other reality of just how serious these variants are," Martinez Fischer said. "Even though I'm fully vaccinated, I still tested positive, and, luckily, as of now, I have some very, very minor symptoms."
Martinez Fischer said he plans to keep working from his room.
Texas Democrats in Washington, D.C. remain united as they continue lobbying for federal voting legislation after breaking quorum in the Texas house over GOP-backed state voting bills.
“The constitutional right to vote in America is worth going to jail and If they want to go that step further to put us in jail because we stand on the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States of America and Texas then I am ready to be arrested," said State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who represents District 141.
“All of us have families, mortgages, car notes, we’re head of households, we have our businesses that we have shut down,” Thompson said. “We want to do everything that we possibly can, and that’s why we’re making this big sacrifice to ensure that the voting rights of our constituents are not stripped away.”
She said none of the original lawmakers who traveled to the capital have returned home.
“As far as I know, we have more than enough for the quorum to remain broken,” Thompson said.
The group of lawmakers met with South Carolina Senator Jim Clyburn. They said the meeting was inspirational and he encouraged them to continue using their voices.
At the moment, they’re waiting to see if they’ll meet with the president.
“We are working and we’re optimistic that we will get a meeting with President (Joe) Biden very, very soon," said District 27 Representative Ron Reynolds.
The Texas Democrats plan to stay away from the Lone Star State until Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session ends on Aug. 7.