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Making government work better

Sen. Charles Grassley is having a huge impact in Washington

Passing new laws is part of the work Congress undertakes. Much of the time lawmakers spend in Washington, however, is devoted to detailed scrutiny of the vast array of federal agencies and programs. Assuring that taxpayer dollars are used as Congress intended and that the programs authorized are accomplishing their planned goals are major priorities.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley plays a central and crucial role in the Senate’s important oversight activities. He has shared with the public an extremely detailed review of some of what has been accomplished in that regard. The document is available on the Iowa Republican’s website. The link is https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/grassley-marks-policy-oversight-accomplishments-2019

As chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, Grassley leads many of the most critical Senate oversight functions. This vital activity holds bureaucrats accountable and sometimes identifies areas where more legislative action is warranted. The list of policy areas where Grassley’s oversight work produced significant benefits is lengthy. Here, however, are some of his accomplishments in 2019 that have particular relevance for Iowans.

As one of only two farmers in the Senate, Grassley pays careful attention to how government programs affect agriculture. In 2019, he focused attention on the following:

∫ Holding the Environmental Protection Agency’s feet to the fire concerning proper implementation of the congressionally approved Renewable Fuel Standard.

∫ Evaluating the progress in fulfilling Farm Bill provisions.

∫ Improving the ability of family farmers to reorganize debt. Identification of needed changes led to his introduction of the Family Farmer Relief Act, which became law in 2019.

∫ Enhancing government responses to problems posed for farmers by weather disasters.

∫ Making sure the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop reporting and data collection tools were in good order.

∫ Guaranteeing that government programs to identify and contain disease threats to agriculture are working properly.

As most Iowans know, Grassley visits each of the state’s 99 counties at least once each year to have conversations with his constituents. During those visits he has become acutely aware of how the high cost of prescription drugs poses hardship for many Hawkeye State residents. With that in mind Grassley devoted much effort in 2019 to identifying the extent of this problem and finding a bipartisan solution. He has held extensive oversight hearings to further that goal. He and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., have introduced the Prescription Drug Pricing Act, which has gained broad bipartisan support in Congress and would help keep drug prices in line if it became law. Grassley has also championed the broader availability of less costly generic medications.

Other areas that were scrutinized by Grassley in 2019 included wasteful military spending, the need for more information for students about the long-term cost to them of college loans, problems with federal housing programs, the impact on the U.S. economy of federal tax policies, the adequacy of government programs for veterans and the ongoing need for greater transparency throughout the federal government.

“Serving the people of Iowa as their United States senator is my first priority and it’s an honor that I take seriously,” Grassley said. “As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and through my extensive oversight efforts, my work focuses on making government more transparent, efficient and accountable to Iowans and all Americans.”

The Messenger applauds this commitment. Grassley is determined to make government work effectively for all Americans and be more accountable to the taxpayers who pay the bills. He has few equals in Washington in his dedication to those goals. Iowans are very well-served by his tireless efforts.

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