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Grassley hospitalized with infection, reported ‘in good spirits’

Iowa Republican, oldest member of Congress, turned 90 in September

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, was hospitalized for treatment of an infection, his office said.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, was hospitalized for treatment of an infection, his office said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The oldest member of Congress, 90-year-old Sen. Charles E. Grassley, has been hospitalized for treatment of an infection, the Iowa Republican’s office said in a statement released Tuesday.

Grassley’s office didn’t elaborate on his condition.

“He is in good spirits and will return to work as soon as possible following doctors’ orders,” the statement read.

The Iowa Republican is considered extremely fit for his age, with a history of early morning runs and competing against much younger individuals — including reporters and fellow senators — in pushup competitions.

In addition to being the oldest member of Congress, Grassley is also the longest-serving current U.S. senator, having first taken office on Jan. 3, 1981. His service in the House began in 1975, making Grassley also the longest-serving current member of Congress in combined tenure in both chambers.

Grassley’s hospitalization kept him away from Tuesday night votes, a rarity for the iron man Iowan, who rarely misses votes.

Grassley’s record-setting 27-year, 8,927-vote streak was broken in 2020 only because he came down with COVID-19. Prior to that, the last time Grassley missed votes was in 1993, when he was touring flood damage in Iowa with then-President Bill Clinton.

Currently the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Grassley has also served as his party’s leader on the Judiciary and Finance committees.

On Judiciary, Grassley in 2016 refused to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick B. Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Grassley later shepherded then-President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch through to confirmation the following year.

During his tenure leading the Finance Committee, Grassley helped push through the major tax cuts enacted during former President George W. Bush’s first term, in 2001 and 2003, as well as enactment of the prescription drug benefit program under Medicare.

Grassley was reelected in 2022 with 56 percent of the vote, his weakest showing since his first Senate campaign. He hasn’t said officially whether he’s running for reelection in 2028, though he’s filed the official paperwork with the Federal Election Commission that would allow him to do so.

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