A conversation with Senator Grassley

By Ron Slechta
Posted 6/7/23

Last Wednesday I was invited to join a journalist with the Fairfield radio station for a discussion with Senator Charles Grassley for his weekly podcast, Capitol Hill Report.   The Fairfield …

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A conversation with Senator Grassley


Last Wednesday I was invited to join a journalist with the Fairfield radio station for a discussion with Senator Charles Grassley for his weekly podcast, Capitol Hill Report.  The Fairfield radio person was a no-show, so I was told I had the full 10 minutes to ask questions.

I was only prepared to ask a couple questions, so I was hoping the Senator had some good long answers. He didn’t disappoint. But I ran out of time before I got all my questions answered. 

My top concern was the pending legislation on preventing the government from defaulting on its obligations. He predicted it would pass the House and the Senate.

When I asked him what he personally felt about the compromise agreement and legislation, Senator Grassley stated, “There’s a lot of good in it, and then some that’s not so good. But it shouldn’t surprise you that if you ask 435 members of the House, they will probably tell you the same thing, because this is the art of compromise.

“We have a Republican House, Democrat Senate, Democrat President, and when you get done with it, you’ve got a bill that, you like some of it and don’t like some of it. And there isn’t a single member of Congress that could ever get done with a compromise and say, ‘I accept this bill 100%.’ So, you just got to take it and kind of weigh the good against the bad or, I like to put it this way, the good against the not-so-good.”

Senator Grassley said the appropriations bill was written so that Congress shouldn’t face a funding deadline again until after the fall election, but the new president (or Biden) will probably be facing a funding crisis after taking office in 2025. 

  When I asked the senator about the problems at the U.S. and Mexico border, he said, “If you’re talking about comprehensive immigration, the President is poisoning the water so much because he’s not enforcing the law at the border.

“We don’t need any more laws to say that you can’t enter our country without our permission. But the President isn’t enforcing that law so you can’t do much more. As he has poisoned the water, Congress is not going to work on comprehensive immigration reform. There are a few areas, like professional people, engineers and doctors, and unskilled workers, and skilled workers, and agricultural workers, and DACA kids -- if you get those issues up and leave the extremes out of the whole immigration debate, you could probably pass those bills. But the trouble is, you get everything: everybody else wants to amend the most controversial things to those less controversial things. And you can’t even get the less controversial things done.”

 My last question was about the candidates for president invading Iowa at the start of their campaigns. Senator Grassley said that he and other Iowa political leaders purposely don’t back any one candidate as they want Iowans to get to know all the candidates.  

  Grassley said he strongly supports Iowa having the first caucuses as they give even the lesser-known candidates like Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama the opportunity to get traction in their campaigns. 

The first time I interviewed Senator Grassley was on the streets of Tama when I was editor of the Tama News-Herald and Grassley was running for his first term in in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He never forgets a name and he has always been committed to serving the people of Iowa.