Grassley back at work in D.C. following COVID-19 quarantine

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. (Screen shot from C-SPAN livestream of hearing)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is back on Capitol Hill after quarantining due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

Grassley’s office said Monday that the 87-year-old Iowa Republican had remained asymptomatic since testing positive on Nov. 17, and that Grassley’s doctors cleared him to return to the office.

“I did not experience symptoms, but more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized,” Grassley said in a statement. “That means we all have to do our part to help protect our friends, family and fellow Americans. I will continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing.”

Grassley also said Congress should pass “long overdue” legislation to help families, businesses and communities struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. Agreement over another relief bill has stalled since before the November elections.

Grassley is one of at least eight senators who have announced positive COVID-19 test results since the pandemic began, according to a tally by NPR. At least 28 members of the U.S. House of Representatives also have tested positive for the virus.

Grassley’s absence from the Senate floor ended his status of having the longest streak of consecutive votes in the chamber. His quarantine, along with that of Sen. Rick Scott, (R-Fla.), also blocked a controversial vote on Federal Reserve Board nominee Judy Shelton. 

As the Senate returns to session ahead of a deadline next week to pass funding to keep the federal government operating, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), has suspended the in-person lunches that GOP senators have continued to hold while the chamber is in session. Democratic senators have been holding their caucus lunches by phone.