Charles E Grassley

Iowa battlefield extends from politics to gridiron
Healthy trash talk is all part of life in Iowa-Iowa State rivalry

Sen. Joni Ernst is a proud Iowa State alumna, and not shy about it. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Iowa is a perennial political battleground, but Iowans know the most intense contest happens on the gridiron every year, when the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones try to demolish one another in one of college football’s oldest rivalries.

The reward? A move up in conference ranking, bragging rights and the coveted Cy-Hawk trophy. This year, ESPN’s “College GameDay” broadcast from Iowa State territory in Ames for the first time in school history on Sept 14. Iowa won, 18-17. 

Democrats seeking votes in Trump country tout miners’ benefits
As Republicans prepare a coal pension fix proposal, Democrats push for more

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, center, Sens. Joe Manchin III and Sherrod Brown, right, called for action on Democratic pension proposals this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans say they’re close to unveiling a plan to address a $66 billion funding shortfall affecting coal miners’ and other union pension plans, an issue Democrats see as advantageous politically and as a possible bargaining chip in trade talks with the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump championed manufacturing and coal industry jobs during his 2016 campaign, including in critical swing states he won like Pennsylvania and Ohio. In the 2020 campaign, Democrats have been touting “broken promises” to workers in those states and others, including more traditional GOP bastions like Kentucky where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection next year. 

Democrats bow to critics, expand scope of drug price bill
The changes by House Democratic leaders were made to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., points to sign that reads “lower drug costs now” as she departs from a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on September 19, 2019. Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democratic leaders unveiled changes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill ahead of markups Thursday, seeking to appease progressives who pushed for more aggressive action.

The chamber is expected to vote on the bill this month.

Trump announces 'substantial' trade deal with China - but it's weeks from being final
U.S. won't raise some existing tariffs to 30 percent, Mnuchin says

A container ship sits docked at the Port of Oakland on May 13, 2019, in Oakland, California. Chinese and U.S. officials, after trading tariffs and barbs for months, are again negotiating toward a potential trade pact. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Friday announced his administration has reached a “substantial” trade pact with China that includes some backing off of tariffs, but he signaled work remains to finalize the elusive pact.

The Trump administration has agreed to keep existing tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese-made goods at current levels rather than raising them to 30 percent, as Trump had threatened to when talks previously stalled.

Freshman Democrat: Party must do better job selling health care during impeachment
But Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild gets no questions on drug prices at town hall

Rep. Susan Wild, D-PA., holds a town hall meeting at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Democrats have more work to do to show voters the House is trying to lower drug prices and protect coverage for pre-existing conditions even while it pursues possible impeachment, freshman Rep. Susan Wild told constituents at a town hall meeting Wednesday.

Wild and Democrats like her helped flip control of the House by winning Republican-held seats last year with campaigns focused on health care. She wants to do the same in 2020, but found herself having to try to fit answers about health care into questions about impeachment and other issues at the 90-minute event at Muhlenberg College.

Trump disregards whistleblower protections as polls turn against him on impeachment
Survey finds 46 percent of independents now support impeachment, an 11-point jump

President Donald Trump cedes the lectern to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last week. He continues pressuring a whistleblower who prompted an impeachment inquiry. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Donald Trump on Tuesday said he wants to “interview” the whistleblower who prompted House Democrats to launch a formal impeachment inquiry, but federal laws offer the intelligence community official protection and polls show the president’s attempts to discredit that person are failing.

During a morning-long tweet blitz, Trump asked: “why aren’t we entitled to interview & learn everything about........the Whistleblower, and also the person who gave all of the false information to him.”

Political tensions escalate as drug pricing bills move forward
Rift began when Pelosi called for Medicare to negotiate prices for a set of high-cost drugs

Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa unveiled the text of his committee's drug pricing bill on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The discord between the parties over plans to bring down drug costs deepened this week as Democrats insisted on allowing Medicare to negotiate prices and launched an impeachment inquiry that threatens to consume Congress.

Still, members of key committees said Wednesday they wanted to continue bipartisan work to lower costs, a major concern of voters, and lawmakers in both chambers took steps toward advancing their proposals. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held the first hearing on legislation unveiled last week by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Democrats leaving a caucus meeting on drug legislation late Wednesday said markups are expected soon after a two-week recess in October. Meanwhile, Senate Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa and ranking Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon unveiled the text of their bill on Wednesday.

Ukraine controversy may scare off would-be whistleblowers
Future complaints could either go the Edward Snowden route or remain under wraps

The current framework for enabling intelligence community disclosures of classified allegations dates back to a 1998 law, which Congress updated in 2010 and 2014. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whoever blew the whistle about what President Donald Trump told the leader of Ukraine in a July phone call did so in the legally correct way, yet the allegation has been impeded and the intelligence official’s character and motivations publicly impugned by the president himself.

There are other officials working right now at places like the CIA and the National Security Agency who are ready to disclose problems that Congress needs to know about. But instead of going through official channels, experts say, these officials may be more likely to either give the information to a reporter or just shut up about it.

State and local tax cap rollback included in year-end tax talks
Democrats leading SALT discussions say they hope to have legislation ready for markup in October

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and House Democrats are looking to roll back the cap on annual state and local tax deductions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior House Ways and Means Democrat said Wednesday that a full, though temporary, elimination of the current $10,000 cap on annual state and local tax deductions is among the proposals being discussed for a possible markup in the coming weeks.

Committee Democrats also discussed in a Wednesday caucus meeting how a “SALT” rollback and a raft of other tax legislation the committee has advanced or will soon consider might fit into a deal later this year with Senate Republicans, and what offsets might be offered as part of any package, said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-New Jersey.

Grassley talks tailgating Iowa-Iowa State game

AMES, IA - Wide receiver La'Michael Pettway #7 of the Iowa State Cyclones celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Jack Trice Stadium on September 14, 2019. (David Purdy/Getty Images)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley joined tens of thousands of his fellow Iowans in Ames over the weekend at the state’s biggest rivalry football game between the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.