SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY, R-IOWA
RANKING MEMBER, SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
Date of Birth: Sept. 17, 1933.
Education: B.A. and M.A., University of Northern Iowa.
Career Path: Grassley worked as a farmer and an assembly line worker before his election to the Iowa State House in 1958. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1974 and the Senate in 1980.
Role in Health Care Reform, 1993-1994: Finance Committee member Grassley did not support President Clinton’s plan, nor did he back the Republicans’ compromise proposals.
Why He's a Player Now: As the ranking member of the Finance Committee, Grassley has been working closely with the chairman, Sen. Baucus, on changing the health care system. He has sometimes been an ally of Senate Democrats on health care, helping to pass the 2009 reauthorization and expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Quote: (The 2003 Medicare prescription bill "was probably the toughest thing we’ve done until now but that’s minor league compared to what we’re doing now…You’ve got to understand that 86 percent of the people have health insurance and most of them are satisfied with it and we are going to change some of that. About the only thing that might not be changed is the extent to which Republicans agree with the president if you like your health insurance you ought to be able to keep it. Outside of that there’s going to be some changes….This is not going to be an easy proposition.
The lesson learned (from the drug bill) was we would have never gotten that done if it hadn’t been bipartisan in the Senate and I don’t think this is going to get done if this is not bipartisan.” (from a May, 2009 interview with KHN's Mary Agnes Carey)
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