Given the elderly population’s elevated vulnerability to the effects of COVID-19, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sparked legitimate concern over his recent positive test result.
The virus was apparently not a major factor for the 87-year-old, however, as he reportedly never experienced serious symptoms and has now been medically cleared to end his quarantine and return to work on Capitol Hill.
“I heard from so many Iowans”
Grassley, a Senate veteran who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, serves as the chamber’s president pro tempore and is third in the line of succession — behind the vice president and speaker of the House — for the presidency.
He resumed work in D.C. on Monday after spending much of November isolated at his home in Iowa.
“While I continued working from home during my quarantine, I’m glad to be back in the office working for Iowans,” Grassley explained in a statement announcing his return this week. “During my quarantine, I heard from so many Iowans and Americans across the country. I’m thankful for their prayers and well wishes.”
Acknowledging that he “did not experience symptoms,” he went on to stress that “more than a thousand Americans are dying every day and many more are hospitalized” because of the continuing public health crisis.
“That means we all have to do our part to help protect our friends, family and fellow Americans,” Grassley continued. “I will continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing.”
“Light at the end of the tunnel”
He went on to signal hope that news of safe and effective vaccine options promise “a light at the end of the tunnel,” which he asserted “makes staying vigilant in the coming months all the more important.”
The long-serving senator turned his attention back to his legislative role, declaring: “Congress must do its part and pass long-overdue relief legislation to help families, businesses and communities get through this crisis. I hope my colleagues reach the same conclusion and a bipartisan bill can pass very soon.”
Grassley was one of at least seven senators — all Republicans — to test positive for COVID-19. As The Hill reported, the most recent was Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who has reportedly also been cleared to end his quarantine and was set to return to work in D.C. this week.
For Grassley, his quarantine meant a break in his 27-year streak of never missing a vote on the Senate floor. He had been approaching 9,000 uninterrupted votes and reportedly broke the record for the longest stretch without missing a vote in 2016.
Prior to his quarantine, the last time Grassley missed a vote in the senate was in July 1993, when severe flooding devastated parts of his home state.