Mitt Romney gets vaccinated and he presses Congress to help others

All senators urged to get vaccine as part of ‘continuity of government.’

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks during a news conference on Oct. 15, 2020.

Sen. Mitt Romney on Friday decided to take a shot and give a shot. He received the COVID-19 vaccine. The shot he gave was a renewed call for the members of Congress being vaccinated to pass a long delayed pandemic relief bill to help others.

“Our most urgent task is to get emergency COVID relief across the finish line,” Romney said. “I look to congressional leadership to finalize the [relief] bill, hopefully in a way that is consistent with much of the bipartisan proposal we [a group of rank-and-file senators] presented earlier this week.”

Romney, 72, issued that call in the same statement explaining why he was being vaccinated.

“The attending physician’s office has now informed all senators that for continuity of government purposes, we are to receive vaccination, and that there is no reason to delay,” Romney said.

“In accordance with this directive, I will receive the vaccine,” he added. “I will also continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings in line with public health guidance.”

That comes two weeks after Romney discounted arguments by people who said they will not be inoculated, and said, “I can’t wait to take the vaccine…. I’m anxious to be able to go places without a mask and to be in an airplane without worrying about getting COVID, being able to be with my grandkids again.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received coronavirus vaccinations Friday afternoon, administered by Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress and the Supreme Court.

The vaccination of Pelosi, 80, was viewed by the media, and came just hours after Vice President Mike Pence received a dose at the White House complex on live television in a bid to build public confidence in the safety of coronavirus vaccines.

Shortly after Pelosi, McConnell, 78, tweeted that he had received the vaccine and included a photo with Monahan.

Meanwhile, Congress has had trouble working out sticking points in a pandemic relief bill pushed by Romney and a bipartisan group of senators who repeatedly insist that it is needed before Christmas. Congress is scheduled to remain in session over the weekend in to address it.

That group earlier this week proposed two relief bills. One would provides $748 billion in relief, including $300 per week in extended unemployment benefits, $300 billion for small businesses, and $16 billion for coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution. It also provides rental assistance and extends the moratorium on evictions until Jan. 31.

The second, more controversial bill contains $160 billion in aid for state and local governments, but also provides some liability protection for businesses if their employees or customers are exposed to COVID-19.

Several members of Congress and President Donald Trump have pushed to add payments of $1,200 or more to all adults, similar to what Congress did last March. Others argue that is too expensive, and relief should be targeted more to the unemployed and others who need it most.

The full bipartisan group of senators, including Romney, pushing the pandemic relief bill also issued a joint statement Friday.

“Once again, we encourage the leaders to finish what we started and deliver immediate assistance to the workers, families and businesses that need it most,” it said. “The American people elected us to govern on their behalf, and at a time when they need us more than ever we must end the partisan games and meet this moment together for the good of the country.”