Grassley talks trade, flood relief, health care in WC
Senator tours Tasler Inc., holds Q&A with employees since ‘working folks can't always attend town hall meetings’
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, toured Tasler, Inc. in Webster City Wednesday morning and spoke with employees about health care, immigration and border security, trade talks, flood relief and gun control. The stop was part of Grassley’s 99-county tour.
Following the tour, Grassley told the assembly that he had worked at manufacturing jobs for 12 years while farming part time in the early 1960s. He thanked the Tasler family for allowing him to tour the plant and for hosting the Q & A session afterwards, noting that “working folks can’t always attend town hall meetings.”
Asked if puppy mills regulations could be separated from the current Department of Agriculture rules so that there could be better policing of those operations, Grassley said that most of those laws are dictated by states.
“No one has told me that those are inadequate,” said Grassley, who asked the constituent to contact his office with information so his staff can research possible changes in federal law.
Grassley noted that a trade agreement with China is expected in June but warned that even with the absence of tariffs, producers can’t be guaranteed a profit.
“Some things are beyond our control,” he said.
Most importantly, the only guarantee of success is if China upholds its part of the bargain, he said. That includes adhering to the guidelines on products, currency manipulation and intellectual property.
Grassley referred to his voting record to protect a citizen’s right to bear arms when asked about gun control. Balancing the rights of the citizenry and its safety, Grassley said that Congress has passed legislation to regulate the size of a gun clip and bump stock rifles.
While Colorado and Florida took action against guns following the shootings at Columbine and Parkland schools, Grassley conceded that laws can’t prevent a catastrophe. In both of those instances, the shooters were either too young to own a gun or they were given access to them by their parents.
Two gun related bills are being introduced in the Senate, said Grassley. The first one would set up a nationwide database to monitor gun ownership by restricted individuals. The second would train teachers on spotting potential risks.
In regards to immigration, Grassley said there is a need for foreign workers as unskilled laborers, agricultural workers and as professionals. Traditionally, it has been a national policy to allow one million documented workers to enter the country every year, he said. But with different views on immigration, those workers are being used as political pawns.
Building a 2,000 mile wall is not feasible, but several shorter expanses can be built in addition to hiring more border patrol agents and enforcing catch and release for people who overstay their visas, said Grassley. He also suggested that the entry of immigrants should be prohibited from certain countries until those countries can control their own immigration policies.
“Transparency improves accountability,” said Grassley in response to a question on health care. He said he believes that once the pricing practices of big pharma and medical entities are brought out into the open, costs will go down with rebates and cost savings delivered to patients.
Grassley said that while the issue of flood relief should have been non-controversial, it has turned political with the Democrats demanding more funding for Puerto Rico. The bill initially authorized $622 million in spending for Puerto Rico, said Grassley. If that amount was not adequate, additional funding can be added at the beginning of the next fiscal year, he said.
Once the legislature returns following Easter break, Grassley said he expects that President Donald Trump’s nominees for federal judicial seats will be approved.
Grassley, who served as the judicial committee chairman during the contentious Supreme Court hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, noted that they were stressful and he was amazed at how many people watched the entire proceedings.
“How many people have that much time?” he asked.