Chuck Grassley

An Iowa historian is running as an independent to unseat six-term incumbent U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.

Michael Luick-Thrams of Mason City says both major political parties are too married to ideology and can’t do what’s best for the country. 

"We have to have real people with real problems within the halls of government. Be that farmers, or teachers, or labor unionists, or actors, or whoever it needs to be. But someone who’s not there to have a career in politics," says Luick-Thrams.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland had their much anticipated breakfast meeting Tuesday morning in the Senate Dining Room. The Iowa Republican describes the conversation as “very pleasant," though he still won’t hold confirmation hearings for Garland.

Despite criticism he’s keeping details of his schedule private to avoid protestors, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he hasn’t changed protocol in 36 years.

Iowa’s senior Republican senator heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, and has been highly criticized for refusing to hold a confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

The senate is currently on recess, so Grassley is back in Iowa meeting with constituents. The senator has not made his full schedule public, which Democrats say is an attempt to elude unhappy constituents. 

John Pemble / IPR

If Republicans don't hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Democrats believe the issue could help them win the Senate this November.

One test case for this proposition is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversees Supreme Court nominations.

At 82 years old, Grassley has coasted safely to re-election for decades and is seeking his seventh Senate term this fall.

Amy Mayer/IPR file photo

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, is still saying he will not hold confirmation hearings, now that President Obama has selected a Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

A group of 360 legal scholars from across the country says Iowa’s U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and other Senate Republicans are exceeding their constitutional authority by refusing to agree to Supreme Court confirmation hearings. A letter from the scholars was organized by a liberal-leaning legal advocacy group, called the Alliance for Justice. 

Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he will not consider any Obama nominee, regardless of his or her qualifications. 

Iowa Public Radio / Amy Mayer

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he's not harming the justice system by refusing to hold hearings for a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. 

Grassley says the public should decide the next justice when they vote for president in November. Democrats call this blatant partisanship. 

U.S. Supreme Court

Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s "standard practice" to hold off nominating and confirming a U-S Supreme Court Justice during a presidential election year. The Iowa Republican’s comments come following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday. There have been several nominations and confirmations of justices during election years.

Photo by John Pemble

The U.S. Senate could vote this week on the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which aims to upgrade the country's power grid, improve energy efficiency, and repeal outdated provisions in the US Code. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says the bipartisan bill doesn't specifically address ethanol production or wind energy tax credits, two issues he recognizes as important to Iowans.

Photo by John Pemble

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says changes to the complex federal tax code could be coming this year. Grassley is a member and former chair of the Senate finance committee. He's long-advocated for a tax system with fewer rates.

"If we were going to have a simple reform, we would have one tax rate, with an exemption for low and middle income people," he says. One figure for that cut-off, which he says is often used, is $36,000, after which workers would be subject to a flat tax.

IPR file photo by Amy Mayer

During the final year of the Obama administration, Congress will likely address several agricultural concerns. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who sits on the Senate agriculture committee, expects the federal government could tackle free trade, childhood nutrition and ongoing implementation of the farm bill.

John Pemple/IPR file photo

Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is among those sponsoring legislation aimed at recalibrating prison sentences for certain drug offenders.  Grassley appeared at a Washington news conference today with Senators from both parties.  He called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 a significant change in how the courts treat lower-level drug crimes.

Gage Skidmore/flickr

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants is meeting with opposition in the Republican-dominated Judiciary Committee that Grassley chairs in the U.S. Senate.   

As proposed by Grassley, the bill would levy a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for felons who are deported and then return to the country. 

 Grassley says mandatory minimums have become controversial.