Grassley postures but fails to use real leverage over Trump

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s reputation as a defender of whistleblowers and government oversight has taken a hit lately, as President Donald Trump sidelined five inspectors general over a span of two months and rebuffed the senator’s demand for an explanation.

In an escalation of sorts, Grassley announced on June 4 that he would hold up two of Trump’s nominees until the White House complies with federal law requiring that the president explain in writing why he removed inspectors general.

The senator might have some leverage if he were willing to block high-priority nominees for the administration. But the opposite is true. The same day Grassley took a stand on inspectors general, he and Iowa’s Senator Joni Ernst advanced yet another unqualified judicial nominee.

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Let's not return to normal

Herb Strentz: Senator Chuck Grassley defines his duties as looking out for the citizens of Iowa, as though those duties have nothing at all to do with Trump’s actions. -promoted by Laura Belin

Maybe Chicken Little had something after all in his squawking, “The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling.” 

Maybe I had something just as panic-stricken in an email I sent U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley last year, when I suggested he might be “an assistant gravedigger for democracy.”

Both reflections tie in with concerns about the double whammy now striking our nation: dealing  with the novel coronavirus and having Donald Trump as president. Our country’s odds are good on surviving COVID-19, but not as good on surviving Trump. Virus-related issues crank up the zoom lens in monitoring the president, and that’s un-nerving because even a microscopic look at Trump can be as troubling as a microscopic look at the virus.

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Ernst, Grassley sought lower payments for unemployed in new COVID-19 bill

Congress “expanded unemployment insurance by 250 billion dollars” to support laid-off workers, Senator Joni Ernst said during a news conference organized by Governor Kim Reynolds on March 29.

She didn’t mention that she and fellow Republican Senator Chuck Grassley had voted to reduce the amount millions of jobless people will receive over the next four months.

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Ernst, Grassley prefer COVID-19 package without paid sick leave

The U.S. Senate voted on March 18 to approve a second bill responding to the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and President Donald Trump signed the legislation later the same day. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley were part of the 90 to 8 bipartisan majority that approved final passage of the bill. But first, Iowa’s senators supported a Republican amendment to remove mandatory paid sick leave from the bill the U.S. House approved late last week.

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Steve King votes against coronavirus response bill (updated)

The U.S. House has fast-tracked a bill responding to the economic challenges created by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All 223 Democrats present–including Iowa’s Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Cindy Axne (IA-03)–voted for the bill shortly before 1:00 am on March 14, joined by 140 Republicans (roll call). U.S. Representative Steve King (IA-04) was one of 40 House Republicans to vote no.

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