Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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George Will: How a Tractor Driver from Iowa Can Claw Back the Senate’s Power

Feb 07, 2019

How a Tractor Driver from Iowa Can Claw Back the Senate’s Power

By George Will

“His tractor is so noisy that, when driving it, the man who calls himself ‘just a farmer from Butler County’ puts his cellphone under his cap, set on vibrate. Charles Grassley, 85, who has served in the Senate longer than all but 11 of the 1,983 other senators — and who still runs 3 miles four mornings a week — does not have ample time for farming because he has visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties every year for 38 years, and last missed a Senate vote 8,300 votes ago, when Iowa was flooded in 1993.”

“Recently a representative of the European Union was in Grassley’s office explaining why agriculture could not be included in a trade agreement. Grassley affably but unbendingly explained to her that there would be no agreement without agriculture. In order to dispel any fact-free superstitions about GMOs (genetically modified organisms), Grassley took from a small bag a genetically modified soybean and, to demonstrate its safety, chewed it as farmers do to test whether a bean’s moisture indicates the crop is ready for harvest.”

“Grassley, who thinks Congress has delegated too much power over trade, probably will be decisive regarding measures to narrow the scope of presidential discretion, thereby reclaiming some of Congress’ powers. Having served in Congress during eight presidencies, Grassley knows that they come and go, while Congress endures, although it has not always been conscientious regarding its responsibilities. The arguments for term limits on members of Congress are convincing, but Grassley, who in seven terms has developed a stronger attachment to the prerogatives of his institution than to any president, illustrates a benefit of long careers.”

 

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