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Sen. Grassley: Stimulus on hold

Says bill may not pass until December

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, front, listens in during a conversation about the trucking industry at Decker Truck Line Inc. Tuesday afternoon. State Sen. Randy Feenstra, of Hull, a Republican seeking to represent Iowa for U.S Congress, sits at right.

A second round of stimulus checks for Americans and additional aid for small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic may not become a reality until at least December, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley.

“Probably not until the 11th of December,” Grassley, a Republican, said during a visit to Decker Truck Line Inc. on Tuesday. “Hopefully before that. The fiscal year ended Oct. 1, but we extended the fiscal year so we don’t shut down the government until December the 11th, so it would be ideal those things would go together. I am the only one who has said that. That’s an assumption I am making as an individual senator. I wouldn’t say that’s the consensus in Washington.”

Grassley said lawmakers worked to pass a stimulus bill in August, again in September and twice in the last two weeks.

“Just in the last two weeks, we Republicans in the Senate have tried to put together a package of the things we agree on and have a vote on it,” Grassley said. “And Democrats won’t give us at least seven Democratic votes to get to 60 so you can even get the bill out. You can hear them saying all the time we aren’t doing anything. If they don’t like what we are doing, let’s at least get the bill up and let them amend it. But they don’t give us enough votes to even get the bill up for subject. So they don’t have any credibility when they are talking about somehow the Republicans want to stall it.”

Grassley said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is less optimistic about another coronavirus relief package.

“Senator McConnell has taken the view that there isn’t going to be any CARES package number two coming until we get some modification of tort reform,” Grassley said “The Democrats won’t even negotiate that issue.”

Grassley was joined at Decker by state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge; state Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge; and state Sen. Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull who is seeking to represent Iowa’s Fourth District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Feenstra is being challenged by J.D. Scholten, a Democrat from Sioux City. Meanwhile, Meyer is being challenged for her seat by Charles Clayton, a Democrat from Fort Dodge.

On Tuesday, Feenstra touted his record of working to reduce the tax code as a state senator. “I helped author that and pass that,” he said.

Feenstra also told Decker employees he would do what he could to help the trucking industry. “I am here to listen, but I am here to help,” Feenstra said. “I want to be your voice in Congress.”

Grassley was complimentary of Feenstra’s efforts at the state level.

“Those things he has done as a state senator for fiscal responsibility and tax reductions ought to be done in Washington,” Grassley said. “But I see it on a bigger scale than that. I saw Pelosi in 2018 take over the House of Representatives — it neutered Trump’s agenda for the last two years of his first term. If we can get a majority, like we had in 17-18, we can get some real things done that you’ll never get done with Pelosi running it. So I am not here just because of Randy, I want the House of Representatives to be Republican and have (U.S. Rep. Kevin) McCarthy be speaker instead.”

Grassley also said it’s “very important” that Meyer and U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican, hold their seats.

At the same time, Grassley said President Donald Trump deserves to be re-elected. “We have a very unconventional president, but let me tell you what the unconventional does,” Grassley said. “He’s the first non-politician to be elected president of the United States. He didn’t know how Washington operates and maybe still doesn’t. But that’s a strong point because too many people have been part of the Washington establishment. Trump isn’t bought, he’s just doing what he wants to do. I think he’s going to be re-elected. He’s got a lot of ambition his opponent doesn’t have.”

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