Sen. Chuck Grassley, 87, reveals positive COVID-19 diagnosis

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the oldest Republican senator, revealed on Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

The 87-year-old chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who spoke on the Senate floor Monday, said on Tuesday he would self-isolate due to contact with an infected person.

“I’ve tested positive for coronavirus. I’ll b following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine,” Grassley tweeted Tuesday evening.

“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.”

The respiratory virus disproportionately claims the lives of elderly people, but no sitting member of Congress has died from the bug that’s infected 11.3 million Americans and killed almost 250,000 so far.

Republicans narrowly control of the Senate, and will have at least 50 seats in January when President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Two Georgia Senate races are unsettled and will have January runoff elections.

Grassley, a senator since 1981 from the swing state, disclosed Tuesday morning that he would self-quarantine after learning he had been exposed to coronavirus.

“I learned today that I’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. 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,” he said in a statement.

Grassley is the most senior Republican in the Senate and serves as president pro tempore of the chamber. Until Tuesday, he had not missed a vote in 27 years — last missing one in 1993 due to Iowa flooding.

On Monday, Grassley spoke from the Senate floor, where he urged Americans to come together to defeat the pandemic.

“This virus is hitting rural and urban areas. No community is immune. 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. We’re going to get through this together but we need everyone to do their part,” he said.

Grassley’s announcement comes after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) revealed on Saturday that he was self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who had gone on to test positive.

Only one senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, is older than Grassley — by about three months.

The oldest member of Congress is Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska, also 87, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Young was released from an Anchorage hospital over the weekend, his office said.

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