Republican Senator’s Record Run of Not Missing 1 of 8,927 Straight Votes Cut Short by COVID-19

By Terence P. Jeffrey | November 19, 2020 | 11:34am EST
(Photo by Stephen Crowley-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Crowley-Pool/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa) set a Senate record by not missing a single vote since 1993—but that record ended this week when Grassley needed to self-quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 and then came down with the disease.

Grassley is 87 years old and was first elected to the Senate in 1980.

“Yesterday, something extremely rare happened here in this chamber, something so unusual that only a few of us current senators had ever seen it before--a rollcall vote that did not include the name of our president pro tempore and distinguished colleague from Iowa, Sen. Chuck Grassley,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) said in a tribute delivered on the Senate floor.

“Before yesterday, the senior senator from Iowa had not missed a single vote in this body since 1993, when he was in Iowa helping with historic flooding,” said McConnell.

“Since then, across 27 years and 8,927 votes, Senator Grassley had shown up for every single one,” McConnell said.

“It is by far the longest such streak in Senate history,” said McConnell.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

“Senator Grassley,” said McConnell, “broke the previous record back in January of 2016 and obviously continued to extend it for almost 5 years.”

“But yesterday, our colleague's streak had to be temporarily placed on hold," said McConnell. "On the advice of doctors, after close contact with someone who had later tested positive for the coronavirus, Senator Grassley began self-quarantining yesterday morning.

“Later in the day," McConnell said, "our colleague let us know he had tested positive himself, underscoring why his good judgment to follow doctor's orders while awaiting his test result was the right decision.

“So, our colleague's historic run has been put on pause for the same reason that it was compiled in the first place--leadership, service to others, and a determination to set the right example," said McConnell.

Here is a transcript of McConnell’s tribute to Sen. Chuck Grassley:

Mitch McConnell: “Madam President, yesterday something extremely rare happened here in this Chamber, something so unusual that only a few of us current Senators had ever seen it before--a rollcall vote that did not include the name of our President pro tempore and distinguished colleague from Iowa, Senator Chuck Grassley.

“Before yesterday, the senior Senator from Iowa had not missed a single vote in this body since 1993, when he was in Iowa helping with historic flooding. Since then, across 27 years and 8,927 votes, Senator Grassley had shown up for every single one. It is by far the longest such streak in Senate history.

“Senator Grassley broke the previous record back in January of 2016 and obviously continued to extend it for almost 5 years. This show of diligence and dedication is remarkable by any measure. But because of who Senator Grassley is, it hasn't seemed remarkable at all. That incredible commitment to serving Iowans and working around the clock is just who our colleague is. That devotion is just his daily routine.

“This is the Senator who manages to visit all 99 counties in Iowa every single year. We call it the ‘full Grassley.’ Nearly 9,000 consecutive Senate votes must have seemed like a cakewalk by comparison.

“But yesterday, our colleague's streak had to be temporarily placed on hold. On the advice of doctors, after close contact with someone who had later tested positive for the coronavirus, Senator Grassley began self-quarantining yesterday morning.

“Later in the day, our colleague let us know he had tested positive himself, underscoring why his good judgment to follow doctor's orders while awaiting his test result was the right decision.

“So, our colleague's historic run has been put on pause for the same reason that it was compiled in the first place--leadership, service to others, and a determination to set the right example.

“On Monday, in his floor remarks, our colleague reminded all Americans of our duties in this moment: ‘Although promising vaccines for the coronavirus are on the horizon, it is more important than ever to stop the surge. … Wash your hands; limit your activity outside your household; social distance; wear a mask. We are all going to get through this together, but we need everyone to do their part.’

“All of the Senate's thoughts and prayers are with our distinguished colleague, who reported yesterday evening that he still feels fine. We hope that will remain the case. Certainly, if any Member of this body has the good health and stamina to kick the virus to the curb, it is Senator Grassley.

“So, we will look forward to seeing him soon.”

 

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