GOP senators who traveled with Pence will not be tested as the broader debate continues

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86-year-old Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he relied on public comments from Pence’s doctor that the vice president does not have the virus as a reason why it is not tested and self-quarantined.

Grassley was asked why he hadn’t looked for tests to make sure he was healthy, something that could protect his staff and other people close to him.

“All I can do is take the doctors’ advice,” Grassley said, adding later, “I’m talking about the advice the doctor (the vice president) made public only through his public comments.”

A Grassley aide, standing with the senator, also explained that if Pence – who was regularly tested – had the virus, the vice-president’s doctor would follow the procedures and contact the senator, which did not happen.

GOP senator Joni Ernst of Iowa also said it wasn’t going to be tested, “because I haven’t been with anyone who has it,” he said.

When asked if he has any doubts that the virus could spread from Pence’s press secretary to the vice president, he replies, “No, I don’t know.”

Senators spent a long day with Pence flying on Air Force II in Iowa for coronavirus related events. Their flight was delayed for over an hour due to the spread of news from the positive coronavirus test of the press secretary Katie Miller and therefore of some helpers from Pence who had been in contact with other Miller landed and did not travel to Iowa.
The situation for Grassley and Ernst arises as lawmakers are debating whether to institute instant tests on Capitol Hill so that members who travel across the country every week can be sure they will not expose the traveling public or their constituents at home. House president Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell rejected a White House offer to provide instant tests to members, saying that the tests should be made available to frontline healthcare professionals and others before legislators .

South Dakota Senator John Thune, the second-degree Republican leader, said it “would be a good expectation” that Grassley and Ernst could be tested immediately, but did not know when or if the member testing issue would be resolved. .

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Thune said Ernst had told him that he had had no contact with people who had been turned away from Pence’s plane “with the exception of the vice president.”

Thune added: “I think from a test standpoint, there is good logic that if someone has been exposed in some way to someone who has it, yes, you have to test them.”

Senate Rules Committee chairman Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, said he was taking tests for members, but said leadership had not come to any conclusions about whether to establish it.

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