Three virus cases temporarily sideline Senate Democrats’ plans

A trio of positive coronavirus tests distorted the Senate’s schedule on Tuesday as Democrats lost the votes they needed to advance more nominees this week in an equally divided Senate.

Back in Washington from a two-week hiatus, Democrats had aimed to approve several nominations this week, including Lisa D. Cook to be governor of the Federal Reserve and Alvaro Bedoya to be a member of the Federal Trade Commission.

But with Vice President Kamala Harris and two senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Chris Murphy of Connecticut, isolated after positive tests, Democrats do not have the necessary votes to approve either Ms. Cook or Mr. Bedoya.

The loss of just a few votes due to illness underscored the dangers of New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, and the Democratic caucus as they work to maneuver the rest of President Biden’s nominations and legislative priorities through an equally divided Senate, where Mrs. Harris is needed to break the tie.

Democratic leaders have typically delayed any party vote unless they know enough members of their caucus will be present. They faced a similar dilemma earlier this year when Senator Ben Ray Luján, a Democrat from New Mexico, recovered from a stroke in February.

Both Ms. Cook and Mr. Bedoya received no Republican support during separate procedural votes earlier this year.

A procedural vote to promote Ms. Cook’s nomination failed on Tuesday without full democratic support. A senior Democratic aide from the Senate, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the Senate would reconsider the nomination, and votes on Mr. Bedoya’s nomination will be delayed.

In separate statements Tuesday, Mr Wyden and Mr. Murphy said they had mild symptoms but were fully vaccinated. Mr. Wyden’s office confirmed he received two booster shots.

“It’s a shame, but I’m sure if I had not been fully vaccinated, I would have been much worse off,” Mr. Murphy wrote on Twitter. “So remember to get your booster!”

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