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Senate Democrats reportedly have an unspoken agreement to avoid testing for COVID-19 because their hopes of passing the Inflation Reduction Act depend on all 50 members being present in the chamber in the days ahead.

Senators have adopted the attitude that the COVID-19 testing protocols Democrats previously touted as necessary should not stand in the way of a major and much-needed legislative win, according to Puck News.

When asked by the Washington Examiner about the report, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pointed to comments he made last week.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer answers one final question before leaving after a news conference. Mariam Zuhaib/AP

A reporter asked Schumer at the time: "On the health question, I mean, you guys have full attendance for the first time since June this week. If one of you gets COVID, are you guys going to stick around? Is there a plan B?"

Schumer replied, "We're not talking about a plan B. We're going to stay healthy."

The departure from protocol has rankled some Republicans, who have been the target of Democratic attacks over what Democrats have characterized as an irresponsible approach to the virus.

"For two years, Democrats scolded Americans for 'putting others at risk' for not adhering to COVID protocols. But apparently ramming through taxes warrants breaking the rules," a GOP Senate leadership aide told the Washington Examiner.

Schumer has set his sights on a vote this weekend on a bill that Democrats have pursued for more than a year. A recent agreement between Schumer and Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) has paved the way for the bill to advance, pending a ruling from the Senate parliamentarian.

COVID-19 has already complicated Democrats’ ability to legislate in recent weeks.

Schumer himself recovered from the virus after testing positive in July; Manchin, his main negotiating partner for the Inflation Reduction Act, tested positive two weeks later.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also all tested positive in July and had to isolate.

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Unlike the House, the Senate does not allow proxy voting. All senators must be physically present in the chamber to participate in the vote.

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News Source: washingtonexaminer.com

Tags: coronavirus senate democrats covid 19 coronavirus news joe manchin chuck schumer joe manchin senate majority leader chuck schumer the inflation reduction act the washington examiner positive in july senate democrats tested positive democrats joe manchin

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Nevada faces teacher and staff shortage of 3,000 ahead of new school year

As students gear up for the start of the new school year, Nevada is still scrambling to fill thousands of teacher and staff positions.

Roughly 3,000 teaching jobs remain unfilled across the state's 17 school districts as some schools prepare to return to the classroom in early August, the Nevada State Education Association estimates.

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"We don't have teachers for the classrooms, and I'm worried about lunch workers who aren't going to be there to serve our kids meals that they need and have missed throughout the summer," Dawn Etcheverry, president of the Nevada State Education Association, told ABC News. "And in our second-largest district, we don't have bus drivers to start the school year. So kids will already go on a rotation of one week without a bus driver every four weeks."

The staffing shortages are forcing schools to make tough decisions, including increasing class sizes.

"It's hard to spend time one on one teaching a child how to do a fingering on a recorder when you've got 40 sitting in your classroom," said Etcheverry, who is a music teacher. "Or let's talk about a geometry teacher in a high school who now has 48 kids and they're trying to read all the proofs."

Clark County School District, which has about 320,000 students enrolled, has raised its teacher salary by $7,000 and provided $4,000 relocation bonuses to attract educators from other districts or out of state, the Washington Post reported.

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Other states are facing similar dilemmas. Some rural Texas school districts are switching to a four-day school week for the upcoming academic year, citing the staffing shortages.

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