Charles Grassley

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Iowa’s senior senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, says he hasn’t heard any discord from his colleagues about President Trump cutting a deal with congressional Democrats to increase the debt ceiling for the next three months.

This surprise move gives Democrats leverage for future negotiations and some speculate Trump was signaling displeasure with Republicans. But Grassley isn’t hearing grumbling.

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Senator Joni Ernst voted against a measure Thursday that lumped federal aid for hurricane victims with budget and debt ceiling extensions.

President Donald Trump made a deal to that effect Wednesday with Democratic leaders. It pairs about $15 billion in disaster aid with an agreement to keep the government until Dec. 8.

In a call with reporters Thursday, Ernst said combining those issues into one bill is "a bad way of doing business." 

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President Donald Trump's stance on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was on the minds of some people who attended Sen. Chuck Grassley's town hall meeting in Mount Ayr in southern Iowa Wednesday.

President Trump said Tuesday the trade agreement will probably be terminated at some point.

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Last week the Senate approved a bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse by federal employees when they travel.

The Saving Federal Dollars Through Better Use of Government Purchase and Travel Cards Act directs the General Services Administration to review its database of charge card purchases to identity potential misuse.

Grassley says he believes this bill is important due to oversight investigations he’s conducted of the Defense Department and other federal agencies.

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Iowa's senior senator is claiming a win in his efforts to foster transparency in the federal government. The Trump Administration has now publicly committed to honor oversight requests from all members of Congress.

Back in May, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion stating the executive branch only had to honor oversight requests from Congress if the request was made by a committee, subcommittee or chairperson.

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Sen. Chuck Grassley says he hasn’t decided whether he’ll vote for or against a healthcare bill that would allow insurance companies to limit what they’d pay for certain services.

The Senate Obamacare repeal bill proposes allowing states to redefine which services insurance companies are required to cover. The concern is this could result in dollar limits for things like hospitalizations or prescription drugs.

Grassley says senators are still submitting amendments, so he’s not ready to take a position until he’s seen the final bill.

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Sen. Chuck Grassley says he probably won’t support an amendment by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill.  Cruz proposes allowing insurance companies to sell two types of healthcare policies, one that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act and one that is not.

Grassley says he’s concerned how Cruz's amendment might affect people with pre-existing conditions. 

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Sen. Chuck Grassley isn’t putting too much stock in the Congressional Budget Office's report on the Senate’s bill to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. 

The CBO says the legislation would result in 22 million more Americans uninsured by 2026. It would also decrease the number of Medicaid enrollees by 15 million. 

Grassley points out CBO scores have been incorrect in the past, such as when it underestimated the number of people who would be insured through Obamacare exchanges.  

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President Donald Trump will be in Cedar Rapids tomorrow. He will tour Kirkwood Community College with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The visit will give them a look at advanced agriculture technologies offered in the country’s largest two-year agriculture program, and may offer an opportunity to speak on farm policy.

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Like many members of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Grassley hasn’t seen a draft of the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

A group of Republican senators has been working on the legislation in closed meetings, and details of the bill are secret. This clandestineness has been criticized as it does not allow stakeholders or even other Senators, like Grassley, to comment on and possibly shape the legislation. 

Amy Mayer

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says he doesn’t agree with former FBI Director James Comey’s statement that President Donald Trump was lying when he said the FBI was in disarray under Comey’s leadership. Grassley says he considers the president’s statement a matter of opinion.

“When you characterize an agency, how you think it’s being run, you can be perfectly honest in your assessment of that, and somebody else could consider that a lie," he says.

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Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

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.

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Consolidation of agriculture companies continues, as several deals move toward completion this summer.

The state-owned ChemChina purchase of Syngenta is likely to be the first to close, perhaps as soon as next month. Iowa’s homegrown agribusiness Pioneer, already a subsidiary of DuPont, will be swallowed up by chemical giant Dow. And Bayer, the German maker of aspirin and ag chemicals, is poised to buy Monsanto.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pushed for careful oversight of these deals. He says it’s clear now they’re all likely to move forward.

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President Donald Trump has sent a proposed budget to Congress that includes slashing $38 billion from farm bill programs, including crop insurance and nutrition supports, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says reducing crop insurance subsidies would leave taxpayers on the hook to pay for farm damages from natural disasters.

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Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the FBI for copies of memos that may exist documenting conversations former director James Comey had with his superiors in the Trump administration.   

That follows reports suggesting the president may have tried to influence an FBI probe.

The New York Times reports that Comey created memos regarding his interactions with the president, documenting what he perceived as improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation.    

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As the push to replace the Affordable Care Act moves to the Senate, Iowa's senior senator says that chamber will avoid some of the missteps he saw in the House.

Republican Chuck Grassley says the Senate won't bring a healthcare bill to the floor for a vote until 51 members have committed support. He's hopeful that majority will result in a smooth vote, on the first try.

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Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is holding meetings around the state during the April recess. In a session with farmers, he heard complaints about health insurance premiums and deductibles continuing to climb. Grassley says the recent news that two companies will stop selling individual policies in the state, and the failure to get a new healthcare law signed, also concern him.

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Competition and consolidation in the meat industry may drive a wedge between President Donald Trump and one of Iowa's U.S. senators.

Republican Chuck Grassley says he's introducing a bill to prevent meat packing companies from owning livestock, which he hopes will protect family farms by preserving their ability to compete in the open market.  

But the proposal contrasts with the president's efforts to reduce business regulations. Grassley says if the president opposes his bill, that's okay with him.

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President Donald Trump’s choice to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture is awaiting a vote in the Senate agriculture committee, which could come this week. Committee member Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, is confident Perdue will ultimately be confirmed by the full Senate.

“Agriculture will have a big advocate in the Trump administration once Gov. Perdue is in place,” Grassley says.

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Sen. Chuck Grassley says the replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act by House Republicans will have to be rewritten. Yesterday the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a report that found some 24 million people who currently have health insurance would not be covered by 2026 under the GOP proposal. 

Photo by John Pemble

Iowa's U.S. senators are back in the state this week, drawing large, sometimes raucous crowds at town hall meetings. Attendance at Sen. Charles Grassley's gathering in Hancock county was reportedly more than 100. Sen. Joni Ernst drew a similar crowd at her event in Macquoketa.

Some Iowa attendees held signs supporting the Affordable Care Act and chanted "Do your job," and "Work for us." But do such protests make a difference to elected officials?

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Sen. Chuck Grassley says he’s not concerned about a tweet by President Donald Trump that called a federal judge in Seattle a “so-called judge.” The president was responding to a ruling by Judge James Robart that temporarily blocks the president’s executive order on immigration, a ruling Trump called “ridiculous” in that same tweet.

 

Some say Trump’s comment is an attack on the separation of powers. But Grassley, who heads the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, says he doesn’t worry about what the president says.

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Senator Charles Grassley’s re-election to a seventh term was called as soon as the polls closed in Iowa. The 83-year-old Senator says there’s still work to do when he returns to Washington.

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Next week, Iowans will decide whether to send Republican Senator Chuck Grassley back to Washington for a seventh term. His main opponent, Democrat Patty Judge, is working to paint the senator as a leading cause for obstruction in the US Senate. 

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Sen. Chuck Grassley says he wants FBI Director James Comey to disclose why it’s necessary to review newly discovered emails related Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The Iowa Republican, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, first made this request in a letter sent to Comey on Monday.

Grassley argues that withholding this information is unfair to Congress, the public and to Clinton.

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A conference call with reporters was unable to clear up why Sen. Chuck Grassley withdrew from a debate on Iowa Public Television.

The Republican incumbent was slated to go head-to-head with Democratic challenger Patty Judge on October 20th. But last week his campaign cited unspecified complaints about the IPTV format as the reason for canceling.

When asked what specifically was wrong with the format Grassley directed reporters to contact his campaign staff.

John Pemble

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, as the senator faces an election for what could be his seventh term in the Senate.

This week, Congress overwhelmingly rejected President Obama's veto of legislation allowing relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

St. Louis-based Monsanto, a world agribusiness leader, has agreed to be acquired by the German company Bayer. Bayer will pay $57 billion dollars, or $128 per share, in a deal that has been in the works since last spring.

Two other mergers are underway in the industry, with Dow set to combine with DuPont (already the owner of Iowa-based DuPont Pioneer) and ChemChina planning to buy the Swiss company Syngenta.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee plans to examine proposed mergers among agricultural chemical and seed companies in a September hearing.

 

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The latest Quinnipiac University poll finds Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton leading GOP nominee Donald Trump by 47 percent to 44 percent in Iowa.

Since Clinton’s three-point lead is within the margin of error, the poll suggests the candidates are effectively tied. But the same survey also find that 97 percent of Iowa Democrats say they are supporting Clinton, and only 85 percent of Republicans say the same of Trump.

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