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Chuck Grassley, second-oldest senator, tests positive for Covid-19

Grassley, 87, is the most senior Republican in the chamber and president pro tempore of the Senate, which makes him third in line to the presidency.
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Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wears a protective mask while walking through the Senate Subway at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 12, 2020.Stefani Reynolds / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday that he tested positive for Covid-19.

Grassley, 87, said earlier Tuesday that he was under quarantine at home after learning he had been exposed to someone with the virus. The exposure caused Grassley to miss his first vote in the chamber since 1993.

The Iowa senator is the most senior Republican in the chamber and is president pro tempore of the Senate, which makes him third in line to the presidency. He is the second oldest senator after Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

In a statement on Tuesday, Grassley said he feels "fine" and will continue to work from home.

"This morning, I learned that I had been exposed to the coronavirus. I received a COVID-19 test and immediately began to quarantine. While I still feel fine, the test came back positive for the coronavirus. I am continuing to follow my doctors’ orders and CDC guidelines," he said in the statement. "I’ll be keeping up on my work for the people of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes and prayers, and look forward to resuming my normal schedule when I can. In the meantime, my offices across Iowa and in Washington remain open and ready to serve Iowans."

The news comes as coronavirus cases have increased in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam over the past 14 days, the latest NBC News data showed Tuesday. It also comes as President Donald Trump, whose chief of staff tested positive last week, and some of his allies are mounting election-related lawsuits and stymying the transition efforts of President-elect Joe Biden, who has vowed to get the virus under control.

Grassley is the latest lawmaker on Capitol Hill to contract the virus. Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, 87, the most senior member of the House of Representatives, is also recovering from Covid-19. Other lawmakers have also announced exposure to the virus recently.

GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida also announced in a tweet this past weekend that he is self-isolating after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, although he tested negative. GOP Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona is also self-quarantining, her office said Monday, after coming in contact with someone who tested positive.

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy — both of Connecticut — also announced over the weekend they are also self-isolating out of caution after attending an event with the state’s governor, who is self-quarantining after an aide tested positive for the virus. Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois also announced on Monday she tested positive for the virus.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19 after White House aide Hope Hicks was diagnosed last month.