“I’ve tested positive for coronavirus,” Grassley wrote. “I’ll (be) following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. 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.”
Grassley, as president pro tempore, is the most senior Republican in the chamber.
It’s unclear which if any senators who interacted with Grassley on Monday would isolate themselves. Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of GOP leadership, said Grassley attended their Republican leadership meeting Monday. Asked if any who attended the meeting will quarantine, Blunt, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, told reporters: “You’d have to ask them.”
He added, “I was like, 12 feet away from him at the meeting that’s why we’re in that big room.”
“We are all spread out,” GOP Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming told CNN of the leadership meeting. Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who attended Monday’s leadership meeting, said they were wearing masks.
On whether there are any other precautions being taken, as Grassley presided over the Senate floor on Monday and attended meetings, Blunt said Tuesday: “He did. He did. And he’s been great about wearing his mask and I think great about taking care of himself, and so I think he’s done everything he can … does everything he could be expected to do to protect himself and the rest of us. People catch this.”
“Not that I know of,” Barrasso, who is also in GOP leadership, told CNN when asked if they will have to take extra precautions now that Grassley tested positive.
Grassley missed Tuesday’s votes because of his quarantine, his first missed vote since 1993 when he missed due to floods in his state, according to his office.
Grassley was seen at the Capitol speaking to reporters Monday afternoon.
At least two members of the US House of Representatives announced Monday they tested positive for Covid-19 and another member announced he was isolating after possibly being exposed, a sign of the looming threat of coronavirus on Capitol Hill.
Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat, announced Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus and was isolating.
“I learned today that I have tested positive for COVID-19. As of now, I am asymptomatic and I’m feeling good. I am currently in Washington D.C. and plan to isolate in my apartment while continuing to work and voting remotely,” he said in a statement.
The threat of coronavirus has been a consistent influence over leaders from both parties and chambers of Congress since the pandemic began, and how lawmakers react has been under increased scrutiny amid the latest wave of cases sweeping the country.
Grassley’s announcement also comes a day after a dispute on the Senate floor when Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown was recognized by Alaskan GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan and asked Sullivan to put on a face mask.
“I’d start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask as he speaks and people below him are — I can’t tell you what to do,” Brown said, referring to Sullivan.
“I don’t wear a mask when I’m speaking, like most senators,” Sullivan responded.
Brown responded angrily: “I know you don’t need my instruction, but there clearly isn’t much interest in this body in public health. We have a president who hasn’t shown up at the coronavirus task force meeting in months. We have a majority leader that calls us back here to vote on an unqualified nominee, and at the same time to vote for judge after judge after judge, exposing all the people who can’t say anything, I understand, the people in front of you, and the presiding officer, and expose all the staff here, and the Majority Leader just doesn’t seem to care.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.