Born: Sept. 17, 1933, New Hartford, Iowa
Family: Married Barbara Speicher 1954; Five children, Lee, Wendy, Robin, Michele, Jay
Occupation: Farmer (son, Robin, currently helps run family farm); sheet metal shearer 1959-1961; assembly line worker 1961-1971; elected to Iowa Legislature 1958; U.S. House of Representatives 1974, U.S. Senate 1980
Education: B.A. 1955, M.A. 1956 Political Science, University of Northern Iowa; Ph.D. work, University of Iowa
Memberships: Farm Bureau, the Butler County and State of Iowa Historical Societies, Pi Gamma Mu, Kappa Delta Pi, International Association of Machinists 1962-71, Masons, Eagles, Baptist Church
Committees: Finance (chairman), Judiciary, Budget, Agriculture, Joint Tax, Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Senate Caucus on Foster Youth (Co-Chair)
Chuck Grassley of Iowa - United States Senator
Iowans have placed their trust in Chuck Grassley to serve as one of Iowa’s U.S. senators since 1981. By every measure, Senator Grassley works tirelessly to earn that trust.
With uncommon tenacity, Senator Grassley brings grit and integrity to the nation’s capital where he has developed a reputation for independence and relentless oversight to make the government work for the people it serves, not the other way around.
He authored the historic “Congressional Accountability Act” that required workplace laws to be applied to Congress and secured amendments to the “Affordable Care Act” to make the sweeping health care overhaul apply to members of Congress.
Senator Grassley was sworn in as Senate president pro tempore for the 116th Congress, which places him third in the presidential line of succession. He leverages his seniority in the United States Senate to build bipartisan coalitions and advance a conservative agenda to improve opportunity and prosperity for more Americans. As the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Grassley continues vigorous congressional oversight of the executive branch to make sure the federal government does its job. He is also building upon his longstanding record to work across the aisle to solve problems. Specifically, Chairman Grassley has announced his list of priorities includes improving the lives of Americans through better trade, health care and tax policies.
During his four-year chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Grassley shepherded a historic 85 federal judges through the Senate’s advice and consent authority for lifetime appointments to the federal bench, including two Supreme Court Justices. His signature legislative achievement as chairman of the Judiciary Committee was landmark, bipartisan criminal justice reform called the First Step Act. It passed the Senate 87-12 and was signed into law in December 2018.
In all his work, Senator Grassley puts the needs of Iowans first.
Known for his reputation for hard work and constituent service, Senator Grassley holds the longest consecutive voting streak in Senate history. Senator Grassley hasn’t missed a vote since 1993, when he was in Iowa helping constituents respond to the devastating flooding.
He places a high priority on constituent services, helping Iowans cut red tape and navigate federal services, from Social Security to veterans’ benefits.
Senator Grassley has conducted at least one meeting in each of Iowa’s 99 counties every year since his public service began in the U.S. Senate. He says “dialogue is the essence of representative government” and that’s why he keeps his commitment to keep in touch with Iowans by every means available. He responds to every phone call, letter, and email from Iowans, and communicates extensively via social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, website) to connect directly with constituents. Senator Grassley also prioritizes accessibility with journalists as another vital means to communicate and hold himself and government accountable to Iowans.
Countless congressional hearings, policy debates and constituent feedback shape Senator Grassley’s expansive legislative expertise for Iowa’s benefit. For policies impacting health care, taxes, trade, transportation, agriculture, renewable energy, criminal justice, elder justice, foster care, illegal drugs, human trafficking, the federal budget, patent reform, education, national security and the federal judiciary, Chuck Grassley works to make a difference for Iowans.
No matter which political party controls Congress or the White House, Senator Grassley conducts robust oversight of the federal bureaucracy and expects answers from the executive branch. He says transparency is an effective and crucial tool for holding government accountable.
Senator Grassley has been referred to as the patron saint of whistleblowers for his efforts to strengthen protections to help those who come forward to report wrongdoing. The Grassley amendments to the “False Claims Act” have been used effectively to recover more than $56 billion to the U.S. Treasury. His IRS whistleblower reforms have restored more than $3 billion to federal coffers. His guardianship of good government extends beyond dollars and cents. His work to support whistleblowers who shine light on waste, fraud and abuse has helped to expose misconduct and clean up wrongdoing at the FBI, the Secret Service, the Pentagon, the U.S. Marshals Service, the IRS, Veterans Affairs and more. Senator Grassley is co-chairman and co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus that advocates for enforcement and expansion of whistleblower protection laws.
A lifelong family farmer, Senator Grassley brings a reality check to the policymaking tables when it comes to American agriculture. From the farm bill, to trade, taxes, energy, health care, bankruptcy and the federal regulatory regime, Senator Grassley is a fierce advocate for farmers and families who live and work in Rural America.
Iowa’s energy and economic landscape have benefited tremendously from federal renewable energy policies that Senator Grassley has worked to secure into law. Due in large measure to his advocacy and leadership, Iowa’s alternative energy portfolio has triggered tremendous investment in corn-based ethanol and next generation cellulosic ethanol, soy-diesel, wind energy and more.
Clean energy drives economic growth, job creation, broadens the tax base, adds value to crops and farmland and attracts new investment to Iowa for business and industry seeking affordable, clean energy. Iowa now produces more than one-third of its electricity from wind. That puts Iowa first in the nation to achieve this clean energy milestone.
Senator Grassley’s work as a good government watchdog benefits from a no-nonsense commitment to truth and transparency for the taxpaying public. He champions the public’s right to know and pushes for stronger Freedom of Information laws and supports independent inspectors general and legislation to allow cameras in federal courtrooms.
When he gets a whiff of potential wrongdoing, Senator Grassley sinks in his teeth and digs in his heels to get answers. For example, his work to ensure federal health programs effectively serve taxpayers, patients and providers includes his oversight of overpayments for widely prescribed pharmaceuticals including EpiPen, Dilaudid and Prilosec. Working to keep the spotlight shining on the misclassification of prescription drugs is fueled by the egregious overcharges on the taxpayers’ dime and his efforts to recoup reimbursement to taxpayers. From 2006 to 2016, taxpayers may have overpaid $1.27 billion for EpiPen alone. Many Iowans often share personal stories of financial hardship from sticker shock when they fill their prescription medicines. Senator Grassley is working to restore competition to help drive down prices with bipartisan legislation that would stop brand name pharmaceutical companies from engaging in deceptive agreements that prevent or delay lower-cost generics from entering the market.
Senator Grassley’s creed of ethics and accountability gives Iowans strong and effective leadership. He works to ensure the laws passed by Congress are faithfully executed and our system of checks and balances is functioning as the Founders intended. Senator Grassley keeps close tabs on the enforcement of immigration laws enacted to uphold U.S. sovereignty, ensure border security and protect the safety of Americans. Following the death of Iowan Sarah Root, who was killed by a drunk driver living illegally in the country, Senator Grassley introduced legislation to strengthen enforcement and increase penalties for violators of U.S. immigration laws that result in the death of or serious injury to a U.S. citizen.
Using his key committee assignments to benefit Iowans, Senator Grassley works to lessen excessive regulatory and tax burdens that make it harder for families to get ahead and stay ahead. Our nation’s founders established a constitutional framework for economic freedom, innovation and opportunity to limit government’s role in society. His work on the Senate Budget and Finance committees is driven by an acute understanding that Washington can’t spend, tax and borrow America’s way to prosperity.
Chuck Grassley’s extraordinary work ethic is hardwired for public service and his determination to protect the blessings of freedom for all Americans to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”