Hawaii’s senior senator has tested positive for Covid-19, possibly impacting votes in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat, released the following statement Thursday: “Earlier this week, I tested positive with a breakthrough case of Covid-19. Thankfully, I am fully vaccinated, boosted, and asymptomatic. I have been following CDC guidelines and isolating at home. I am in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, and expect to be back soon.”

Schatz is the second member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation to get Covid. Rep. Kai Kahele tested positive in December.

Senator Brian Schatz.
Senator Brian Schatz. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

The news of Schatz’s breakthrough case “comes amid a concerted push from President Biden and Democratic leaders for election reform and to change Senate rules on the legislative filibuster to pass the legislation,” The Hill reported.

The Senate needs 50 votes to change rules, which means Schatz’s positive test and absence from the Capitol “puts the Democrats’ push in jeopardy.”

House representatives can vote by proxy but senators cannot.

On Thursday, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) reiterated her support for the filibuster, perhaps ending Democrats’ hope for reform.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has also said he is against changing Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation. Democrats have 50 votes plus one from Vice President Kamala Harris, but 60 votes are needed to bypass a filibuster.

Many congressional lawmakers have tested positive for Covid recently, including Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), The Hill reports.

Support nonprofit, independent journalism.

During this election season, we hope that our coverage provides you with the information to make informed decisions on issues that you care deeply about.

Whether it’s affordable housing, education or the environment, these issues depend on your vote, and our ability to report on them depends on your support.

Every contribution, however big or small, allows us to continue keeping readers informed through election day and beyond. So, if you found value in our coverage, please take the next step by making a contribution to Civil Beat today.

About the Author