Grassley Fields Questions On Healthcare, Paris Agreement At Town Hall

Jun 2, 2017

Sen. Chuck Grassley held his second town hall this week at the Adair County Courthouse in Greenfield. Many attendees were unhappy when Iowa's senior senator wouldn't take a definitive position on issues surrounding Republican lawmakers' goal of repealing Obamacare.

Attendees asked Grassley if he would vote against a bill that would adversely affect people with pre-existing conditions, end essential health benefits, or increase the number of uninsured Americans. Grassley was also asked if he believed access to healthcare was a right.

All questions were met with a variation of the same answer.

"It would be foolish of me to say what I can do or not do when I haven’t seen the bill," he said. "If 99 percent of the bill was very favorable to you and me, and one percent was not favorable, and you’re looking for a perfect bill, there’s no way you can get a perfect bill out of Congress."

Grassley tried to mollify some concerns by saying the Senate wasn’t working off of the bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Congressional Budget Office says if the House's bill becomes law, it would result in 23 million people losing their health insurance over a decade. 

Grassley was also asked his thoughts on President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to keep the global temperature from warming to more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Grassley says he doesn’t like that the Paris Agreement was never voted on by the Senate. But he also doesn’t think Trump needed to ask senators to weigh in on the decision to withdraw the U.S.'s committee to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Grassley says that's because the agreement was negotiated under President Obama. 

"I think for this president to submit something to the Congress, I think it’s something he should have been involved in the negotiation of it," says Grassley.  

Every country around the planet is part of the Paris Agreement with the exception of the U.S., Syria and Nicaragua. Nicaragua says its objection to the agreement is that it doesn’t go far enough to combat climate change.