Sen. Chuck Grassley, the second oldest member of the Senate, has tested positive for coronavirus.
In a statement, the 87-year-old Iowa Republican said that he learned he was exposed to the coronavirus Tuesday morning and received a positive test.
“While I still feel fine, the test came back positive for the coronavirus,” Grassley said. “I am continuing to follow my doctors’ orders and CDC guidelines. I’ll be keeping up my work for the people of Iowa from home.”
Grassley joins Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in testing positive for the virus. Meanwhile, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.
Grassley’s absence due to the coronavirus will break his record vote streak of nearly 9,000 uninterrupted votes since 1993. The Iowa Republican’s positive test comes as cases continue to reach record levels across the country.
The U.S. Capitol has yet to implement a bicameral testing regime. Earlier this month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a dramatic expansion of Covid testing for lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not indicated whether the Senate will implement a similar effort.
Grassley, the Senate’s president pro tempore, has emphasized the importance of wearing a mask and the need for social distancing, including in a speech Monday.
“Although promising vaccines for the coronavirus is more important than ever, it is important to stop the surge,” he said. “I ask every Iowan to continue to do their part to keep their family and neighbors safe. Wash your hands, limit your activity outside your household, social distance, wear a mask.”
By Marianne LeVine