Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks on the Senate floor on March 20, 2020. (Screen shot from video provided by Grassley’s office)
By Laura Olson
WASHINGTON — On Monday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was at the Capitol, speaking on the Senate floor about how important it is for Americans to take precautions to protect themselves and others from the surging coronavirus cases across the country.
A day later, Grassley announced first that he would be quarantining due to coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Hours later, he divulged that he had tested positive as well.
Grassley said Tuesday evening that he was feeling fine, and his staff said Wednesday that the senator continues to work from home in quarantine.
“I remain symptom free & in isolation,” Grassley tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “I continue to feel good Thx for all the messages of encouragement & prayers.”
As the president pro tempore of the Senate, Grassley is third in the line of succession to the presidency. At 87, he also is at increased risk of complications due to COVID-19.
The top-ranking U.S. senators from both parties on the Senate floor on Wednesday wished Grassley a quick recovery from his diagnosis.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted that Grassley’s absence due to the illness ended his status of having the longest streak of consecutive votes in the chamber. Grassley hadn’t missed a Senate vote since 1993, tallying 8,927 uninterrupted votes.
“Our colleague’s historic run has been put on pause for the same reason that it was compiled in the first place: leadership, service to others, and a determination to set the right example,” McConnell said.
Both McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed confidence that Grassley would be able to combat the virus.
“We know he’s a strong man and we have every confidence he will beat this back as he has beaten many other adversaries back in the past,” Schumer said.
“Certainly, if any member of this body has the good health and stamina to kick the virus to the curb, it’s Senator Grassley,” McConnell added, saying he looks forward to seeing Grassley soon.
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