Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is 87 years old, tweeted that he tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, after saying earlier he would self isolate after a possible exposure.
“I’ve tested positive for coronavirus,” Grassley wrote. “I’ll (be) following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes + prayers &look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon.”
Grassley, as president pro tempore, is the most senior Republican in the chamber.
If Grassley missed Tuesday’s votes because of his quarantine, his first missed vote since 1993 when he missed due to floods in his state, according to his office.
“I learned today that I’ve been exposed to the coronavirus,” he said in a statement from his office earlier Tuesday. “I will follow my doctors’ orders and immediately quarantine as I await my test results. I’m feeling well and not currently experiencing any symptoms, but it’s important we all follow public health guidelines to keep each other healthy.”
Grassley is the second GOP senator in under a week to announce that he’s isolating after a possible Covid exposure. Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said Saturday that he was isolating as well after coming into “contact with someone who subsequently tested positive for COVID.”
Grassley was seen at the Capitol speaking to reporters Monday afternoon.
At least two members of the US House of Representatives announced Monday they tested positive for Covid-19 and another member announced he was isolating after possibly being exposed, a sign of the looming threat of coronavirus on Capitol Hill.
The threat of coronavirus has been a consistent influence over leaders from both parties and chambers of Congress since the pandemic began, and how lawmakers react has been under increased scrutiny amid the latest wave of cases sweeping the country.
Grassley’s announcement also comes a day after a dispute on the Senate floor when Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was recognized by Alaskan GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan and asked Sullivan to put on a face mask.
“I’d start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask as he speaks and people below him are — I can’t tell you what to do,” Brown said, referring to Sullivan.
“I don’t wear a mask when I’m speaking, like most senators,” Sullivan responded.
Brown responded angrily: “I know you don’t need my instruction, but there clearly isn’t much interest in this body in public health. We have a president who hasn’t shown up at the coronavirus task force meeting in months. We have a majority leader that calls us back here to vote on an unqualified nominee, and at the same time to vote for judge after judge after judge, exposing all the people who can’t say anything, I understand, the people in front of you, and the presiding officer, and expose all the staff here, and the Majority Leader just doesn’t seem to care.”