WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) marked a series of policy and oversight accomplishments of 2019.
“Serving the people of Iowa as their United States Senator is my first priority and it’s an honor that I take seriously. 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,”
Grassley holds at least one question-and-answer session in each of Iowa’s 99 counties every year to hear concerns and answer questions on any subject from Iowans. In 2019, Grassley completed his annual county meetings for the
in a row. Grassley holds meetings in a variety of settings to ensure that a broad cross-section of Iowans can participate, including businesses, schools, town meetings and factory floors. Although the setting may differ from county to county, the format is the same: Iowans set the agenda.
In addition to his annual meetings, Grassley attended or convened a variety of events and forums, including:
In 2019, Grassley
his social media series called
. These gave followers an insider look at farming operations and tracked the progression of the corn and soybean crops grown on the Grassley family farm in New Hartford, Iowa from planting through harvest.
When the Senate is in session, Grassley sets aside eight 15-minute meetings every Monday through Thursday to meet with Iowans in Washington, D.C., including advocacy groups, associations, chambers of commerce and local business leaders, students and families. Throughout 2019, Grassley met with more than 1,200 groups of Iowans visiting the nation’s capital and discussed a variety of policy issues affecting Iowans such as trade, tax reform and prescription drug pricing. Grassley also joined 25 Iowa schools for photos on the Senate steps or Q&As via video conferencing and, as an avid fan of Iowa universities, attended dozens of sporting events.
Grassley was also
to be Senate
president pro tempore
, a position that has historically been bestowed upon the most senior member of the majority party in the upper chamber of Congress. Upon his swearing in, Grassley became third in the line of presidential succession following the vice president and the speaker of the House of Representatives. An Iowan has not held this position since Senator Albert B. Cummins in 1919.
Highlights of Grassley’s legislative and oversight work follow here:
As the senior senator of one of the top agricultural states in the country, Grassley has been an outspoken
for farmers and Rural America.
While the Farm Bill is only voted on every 5 years, Grassley has consistently
important to farmers and pushed for careful oversight of the Farm Bill’s
to ensure farmers are being appropriately prioritized.
Grassley led an effort to help
family farms reorganize debt
when they fall on hard times by authoring the
Family Farmer Relief Act
. Following passage in Congress, President Trump
this legislation into law this year.
Grassley joined the only other farmer in the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester (D-Montana), to address farmer mental health. Unfortunately, more than ever, farmers are
facing tough times
with sinking commodity prices, unpredictable natural disasters and various trade disputes. Grassley and Tester authored the
Seeding Rural Resilience Act
which aims to curb growing rates of suicide in Rural America by implementing a voluntary stress management training program, creating a PSA campaign to raise awareness and directing the Secretary of Agriculture to work with state and local groups to identify best practices when responding to farm mental stress.
From year to year, unexpected natural disasters take place across the country. Grassley joined fellow Iowa Senator, Joni Ernst as well as a few Senate colleagues from the Midwest in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide timely
livestock disaster assistance
. Following the severe flooding across Iowa this past spring, Grassley also authored an
, which passed in the federal disaster aid package, that provided relief to farmers that lost stored grain during the flooding.
Grassley, along with his colleagues, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a
to the chairman and ranking member of both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees urging them to include robust funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Value Added Producer Grants
(VAPG). Grassley spearheaded the effort to create the VAPG program in 2000 after hearing some of the business challenges facing Iowa farmers. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized VAPG as part of an umbrella program called the Local Agriculture Market Program and provided VAPG with $12 million per year in mandatory funding.
Always an advocate for the farmers in Iowa, Grassley
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Stephen Censky on the USDA’s crop reporting program during a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing. Grassley heard concerns from constituents around the state during his annual 99 county meetings relating to the accuracy and dependability of the crop reports and data collection tools. Censky acknowledged those concerns and reported that the USDA is actively working to make the crop reports more accurate for farmers.
Diseases like African swine fever have the potential to devastate entire sectors of U.S. agriculture. With that in mind, Grassley cosponsored the
Protecting America’s Food & Agriculture Act of 2019
which will address the shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industries at the border. This legislation passed out of the Senate by unanimous consent.
The Senate passed Grassley’s
Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act
, which would extend whistleblower protections for employees who provide information to the Justice Department related to criminal antitrust violations. This initiative is part of Grassley’s decades-long effort to protect and empower whistleblowers. The legislation passed the Senate the past three congresses, but has not been taken up by the House of Representatives.
Grassley joined his colleague, Sen. Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, in introducing legislation to ensure antitrust authorities have the resources they need to protect consumers. The
Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act
would update merger filing fees for the first time since 2001, lower the burden on small and medium-sized businesses, ensure larger deals bring in more income, and raise enough revenue so that taxpayer dollars aren’t required to fund necessary increases to agency enforcement budgets.
Grassley also joined Klobuchar on bipartisan, bicameral
to curb the abuse of the FDA petition process and increase access to affordable prescription drugs. The
Stop Significant and Time-wasting Abuse Limiting Legitimate Innovation of New Generics
would reduce the incentives for branded pharmaceutical companies to interfere with the regulatory approval of generics and biosimilars that would compete with their own products, a tactic that delays patient access to more affordable medications.
Grassley and a bipartisan group of other Judiciary Committee members introduced legislation that would enable the federal government to take action against price fixing by OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The
No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act
, or NOPEC, would explicitly authorize the Justice Department to bring lawsuits against oil cartel members for antitrust violations.
As a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, Grassley also introduced legislation directing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to study the role and recent merger activity of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and other intermediaries as well as possible anticompetitive behavior. The
Prescription Pricing for the People Act of 2019
helps shine a light on the PBM industry by examining the effects of consolidation on pricing and other potentially-abusive behavior. It also requires the FTC to provide policy recommendations to Congress to improve competition and protect consumers.
Criminal Justice Reform:
Congressional appropriators this year
$75 million in funding for implementation of the bipartisan
First Step Act
, which Grassley championed and President Trump
on December 21, 2018. This landmark law will reduce recidivism, promote public safety and improve fairness in sentencing of federal crimes. Grassley recently
the one-year anniversary of its adoption with a speech on the Senate floor. Grassley and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also
this year with the Justice Department (DOJ) regarding DOJ progress in implementing its criminal justice reforms. The two also joined Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) in
a maximum security penitentiary in Illinois and received a briefing on its current operations.
Congressional appropriators also continued funding, in a
year-end spending package
, for other DOJ grant programs that Grassley led the Senate in reauthorizing during his tenure as Judiciary Committee chairman. These include a formula grant program established by the
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974.
After convening a
that unearthed shortfalls in DOJ’s oversight of that program, Grassley championed the Senate version of bipartisan reforms to this 1974 statute. He also led the bicameral negotiations that yielded the final version, the
Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018
. Signed on December 21, 2018, its enactment represents the first time in 15 years that Congress has updated and extended these juvenile justice programs.
Grassley’s extensive oversight work throughout his career has included a dogged pursuit for answers from the Pentagon over decades of wasteful spending and its
to produce a clean financial audit. In the fall of 2019, the Pentagon released the
of a full financial audit, showing once again it failed to produce a clean audit.
Grassley has conducted oversight to hold the DoD accountable for over four decades. Earlier this year, he sent a
to then-Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan seeking details about how the DoD contracts with businesses and other entities with respect to overpricing, specifically citing TransDigm Group Inc. (Transdigm). Additionally, Grassley asked about the DoD’s ability to collect cost data from those entities and how Congress can help DoD stop price-gouging practices. Grassley also critiqued DoD’s contracts with TransDigm in a
. He recently sent a follow-up letter to Ellen M. Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, seeking an
on how DoD is confronting TransDigm’s costly price-gouging schemes.
Grassley also joined Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in
Military Justice Improvement Act
in response to reports of mishandling military sexual assaults. Grassley, with Gillibrand and Ernst, also probed the DoD for its apparent
to ask victims of sexual assault if they would prefer their case to be tried in a civilian or military court.
Additionally, Grassley, in a July 2019
, continued to press DoD’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) on allegations that contracts granted to Professor Stefan Halper were used to support potential partisan political or other improper or wasteful activities. A DoD Inspector General audit revealed significant flaws in ONA’s contract management practices, indicating ONA’s internal controls were weak or non-existent. In the July 2019 letter, Grassley requested thousands of pages of documents related to Professor Halper’s contracts, and after months of back-and-forth with ONA, on November 14, 2019, Grassley received a full production of documents. Grassley plans to continue to press ONA on its contracting practices in an effort to shed light on the wasteful practices of DoD’s internal think tank.
Grassley partnered with his colleague, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to introduce the
Special Counsel Transparency Act
. The measure would ensure that the work of DOJ’s Special Counsels is publicly available.
Grassley and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) have continued communicating with the DOJ over the fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police in 2017. Grassley first
contacted the FBI
in December 2018 about its investigation into the shooting, and the FBI responded in March with little information, prompting a
In June, Grassley and Warner
decried the opaque and drawn-out nature
of the review in letters to both the FBI and National Parks Service (NPS). The FBI provided a
in August, leaving many questions unanswered. In October, the NPS provided a
, which prompted a
from the Senators seeking more information. The DOJ then announced that it will not pursue action against the U.S. Park Police officers who shot and killed Ghaisar. Read Grassley’s statement on that announcement
In April, Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, contacted U.S. Attorney General William Barr to express concerns that the FBI may have used a counterintelligence briefing to conduct surveillance on the Trump transition team. The senators’
inquires about the extent of the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign and transition staff. Subsequently, in its review of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation, the DOJ OIG found that an FBI Supervisory Special Agent did attend certain counterintelligence briefings for 2016 presidential candidates and that at least one briefing was used for investigative purposes.
In October, Grassley again joined Johnson in sending another
to Attorney General Barr, calling for transparency in the reported DOJ criminal inquiry into the
of the Russia investigation.
In addition, on June 18, 2019, Grassley and other senators wrote to DOJ to ask why it has not required Al Jazeera to register as a foreign agent under the
Foreign Agents Registration Act. This letter is a part of Senator Grassley’s ongoing FARA oversight.
One of Grassley’s top priorities has been to address the rising costs of prescription drugs. With Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.) he introduced the bipartisan
Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act
, which would
more than $100 billion, lower premiums, lower out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare beneficiaries and provide
peace of mind
to millions of seniors. It
the Senate Finance Committee this year, and
for the measure continues to grow.
In 2019, Grassley continued to lead the fight to
decrease prescription drug costs
in other ways. He joined Sen. Durbin in sending a
to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), calling for implementation of proposed regulations requiring pharmaceutical companies to
of their prescription drugs in direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements. Late this year, HHS made good on the promise and
finalized a rule
requiring price disclosure on TV ads for prescription drugs. That rule is being challenged by pharmaceutical companies in court, but its issuance represents great progress in much-needed transparency for consumers.
Grassley and Wyden also partnered on a
into insulin prices. They sent letters to leading insulin manufacturers, seeking information regarding recent price increases of up to 500% or more for
, a treatment available for diabetes for nearly 100 years.
Grassley also joined Wyden in introducing the
Right Rebate Act
which closed a loophole in Medicaid that has allowed pharmaceutical manufacturers to misclassify their drugs and overcharge taxpayers by billions of dollars. Senator Grassley’s oversight work on EpiPen led to the development of this legislation, which is now the law of the land.
Grassley also joined Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in introducing the bipartisan
Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act
The measure would crack down on anti-competitive pay-for-delay pharmaceutical deals, in which branded companies pay their generic competitors not to compete as part of a patent settlement.
Grassley joined Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in introducing another bipartisan measure, the
Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act
. The CREATES Act, which recently was included in the
year-end spending agreement
, is expected to save taxpayers $3.7 billion, by removing obstacles to the development of lower-cost prescription drugs. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee last year, Grassley led that committee in approving the measure, which combats anticompetitive practices used by some brand-name pharmaceutical and biologic companies to block lower-cost generic drugs from entering the market.
Grassley reintroduced a series of bills aimed at giving students and their families a better idea of the
of higher education and equipping them with the tools needed to make informed decisions based on tuition costs, financial aid and
and repayment options.
Net Price Calculator Improvement Act would improve the effectiveness and access to net price calculators, tools that provide students with early, individualized estimates of higher education costs and financial aid figures before they decide where to apply.
Understanding the True Cost of College Act would create a universal financial aid offer letter so that students could easily compare financial aid packages between schools. It would clarify what financial aid families would receive from a school, distinguishing between loans and grants, and create standard terms for the aid offered so that students could accurately compare offers from different schools.
Know Before You Owe Federal Student Loan Act
would increase the amount of information students receive about federal student loans, including their potential ability to repay based on their likely salary, before rather than after signing up for tens of thousands of dollars in debt to Uncle Sam.
Grassley again confronted the issue of academic freedom, authoring a
Wall Street Journal editorial
on this subject in September. He also sent
to the presidents of Duke University, Harvard University, Sarah Lawrence College and Villanova University, seeking information on the current culture of academic freedom on campus. Due to concerns that professors might avoid teaching certain material in good faith out of a fear of being labeled “biased,” Grassley also sought
on relatively new entities, known as “Bias Response Advisory Committees,” at the schools.
As part of Grassley’s continued
to taxpayer-funded research, he also sent letters to the
National Institute of Health
. In addition, on June 5, 2019, Senator Grassley convened a Finance Committee hearing, “Foreign Threats to Taxpayer-Funded Research: Oversight Opportunities and Policy Solutions.” Grassley later worked to get the Office of National Security, located within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), access to government databases that it had yet to get access to. Recently, ONS gained access to some databases as a result of those efforts.
Grassley also sponsored a
, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent, designating the week beginning October 20, 2019, as "National Character Counts Week.”
As a champion of renewable fuels and an all-of-the-above American energy policy, Grassley continued his extensive work to enact responsible energy policies throughout 2019. Grassley has been a leader in the effort to allow the sale of year-round E15. After regular correspondence with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and meetings at the White House, instructed the EPA to begin the process of allowing year-round use of
. The EPA rule allowing E15 to be sold year-round was
in time for the 2019 summer driving season.
Grassley has also
led the fight
to maintain a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). He led efforts to
the EPA to stop issuing “
” to obligated refiners as well as make the waiver process more transparent and
the importance of the RFS to President Trump.
In July 2019, the EPA announced its 2020
renewable volume obligations
(RVOs) under the RFS that failed to account for lost gallons due to small refinery exemptions. After an oval office meeting with Midwest leaders, including Grassley, Ernst and Reynolds, the President directed EPA to issue a supplemental rule to account for future exemptions using projections based on past waivers. When the EPA changed the methodology in the supplemental rule, Grassley
the projections and noted that Iowa’s senators and governor strongly support President Trump’s promise to uphold the RFS and I’ve participated in meetings at the White House to fix this mess. On October 15, the EPA released a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. Once again, the EPA fell short of the mark as the rule does not live up to the September agreement we reached in the White House.
Much of Grassley’s energy agenda focused on the RFS. Grassley worked extensively with Senate colleagues, President Trump and the EPA to find ways forward on renewable energies and fulfill congressional intent on the RFS.
Grassley, with his colleague, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) led a dozen senators in contacting the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, about the Trump Administration’s
changed circumstances review
of antidumping and countervailing duty orders that were
imposed only months prior
on imports of certain biodiesel products from Argentina. The senators have
the Commerce Department to rigorously and transparently review actions by the Argentine government and industry to determine if revisiting the antidumping and countervailing duty rates is warranted.
Grassley, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also authored the
Fuel Choice and Deregulation Act of 2019
. It would remove burdensome regulations on domestic energy production. Government intervention in the energy sector impacts everything from fuel sales to how fuels are taxed, inevitably driving up costs and holding back new technologies. As a result, Washington has unnecessarily limited consumer choice and constrained the wider availability of new fuel options.
In addition to ethanol and biodiesel, Grassley
the importance of wind energy in Iowa and around the country.
Grassley has received awards for his work, including the 2019 “
” award from Growth Energy for his strong support and consistent work on behalf of ethanol. He also was presented with the 2019 “
Holmberg Lifetime Achievement Award
” at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference for his tireless efforts to promote renewable energy, particularly in Rural America.
Grassley presided over a historic number of federal judicial confirmations during the 115th Congress, including the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 114th and 115th Congresses, Grassley rigorously vetted and reviewed judicial nominations to ensure our federal judges will interpret and apply the law as written, not legislate from the bench based on policy preferences.
President Trump has made an effort to nominate constitutionalist and textualist judges who understand the role of the judiciary in our constitutional system. Under Grassley’s leadership, the Judiciary Committee oversaw the confirmation of a record 30 circuit court judges, which is the most circuit court confirmations in the first two years of any presidency in history, and in 2019, the Senate has confirmed a record number of circuit court nominees. These confirmations will have an important impact on our country not just for this Congress or presidency, but for decades to come.
Foster youth, adoption, families and elder care:
Throughout his congressional career, Grassley has
advocated for children and families
. He continued his work on these issues in 2019 by developing a number of bills aimed at protecting special needs children, preventing elder abuse, encouraging elder independence and promoting funding for programs to improve family health.
Grassley partnered with colleagues in both the House and Senate to introduce the
Family First Transition
Act, which would help states transform their child welfare systems and keep more children safely at home, instead of placing them in foster care. This legislation, which recently was enacted, will provide states with the tools to successfully implement the
Family First Prevention Services Act
which became law last year.
Grassley also partnered with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) to introduce the bipartisan
Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act
, which would streamline and expedite access to federal housing assistance to foster youth who are aging out of care. The bill also would allow assistance to be extended for two additional years if the youth is engaged in self-sufficiency activities, such as work or school.
After convening a
2016 Judiciary Committee hearing
on the challenges facing children who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, Grassley joined with Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) to
Childhood Outcomes Need New Efficient Community Teams (CONNECT)
. This bipartisan bill would help states identify and meet the needs of these children, also known as “dual status youth.”
Grassley introduced with Wyden the
Increasing Opportunities for Former Foster Youth Act
. This bipartisan legislation would improve services for older youth who are aging out of the foster care system. Specifically, the bill would provide grants for carrying out and evaluating programs that serve youth who are transitioning to adulthood, with the goal of helping them become successful adults.
Grassley continued his many years of work on elder justice reform, convening two Finance Committee hearings this year to highlight deficiencies in oversight of nursing homes. At the first
in March, he invited Patricia Blank of Shell Rock, Iowa, to
. Blank’s late mother, Virginia Olthoff, allegedly was in severe pain and possibly was denied fluids for days before her death, while in the care of an Iowa nursing home. The facility previously had received the highest possible ranking from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for quality of resident care--although it also had been fined for physical and verbal abuse a year before Olthoff’s death. CMS, which participated in this hearing, announced sweeping changes to its nursing home oversight policies a few weeks later.
At the second hearing, “
Elder Justice: A Call for Reform
,” representatives of two government watchdog agencies testified to the need for additional
to promote the health and safety of residents of long term care facilities that participate in the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Grassley, a longstanding
for elder justice, is currently developing reforms, for inclusion in the draft legislation he is developing to extend Elder Justice Act programs. As chairman of the Finance Committee in
, Grassley worked on an early version of the original Elder Justice Act. He also authored a related measure, the
Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act of 2017
which was enacted last Congress.
This year, Grassley also developed a
designating June 15, 2019, as
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
to draw attention to the issues of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. He also sponsored a resolution recognizing
National Foster Care Month
, to boost awareness of challenges faced by children in the foster care system. Both passed the Senate unanimously.
Good Government and Transparency:
Grassley has joined several Judiciary Committee colleagues in
about a continued culture of secrecy in the federal bureaucracy. In a
to DOJ’s Office of Information Policy, these senators noted negative trends in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including a lack of responsiveness to requests, long delays and record numbers of FOIA lawsuits.
Grassley consistently has advocated for
across the board in the federal government. He joined other members of Congress in expressing significant concerns with the Department of Interior’s (DOI) proposed FOIA rule, which appeared to restrict public access to records and unnecessarily delay the processing of FOIA requests. Following
from members of Congress, DOI
its FOIA policies.
Grassley joined Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in leading an effort to cut government waste and ensure that only the highest-performing federal employees are serving the American people. They reintroduced the
Modern Employment Reform, Improvement and Transformation (MERIT) Act
, which would modernize the civil service system by expediting the dismissal of underperforming employees to keep pace with changing workforce needs.
Grassley has been
recent reports regarding the World Bank. He sent a
to the bank’s president and requested a briefing on a highly questionable $50 million loan provided to an organization associated with the forcible internment of Chinese Uighur Muslims, a population that has experienced grave human rights violations at the hands of the communist Chinese government. He also gave a
about the World Bank continuing to lend enormous amounts of money to the Chinese government despite their record of human rights abuses and role as the world’s second largest economy.
On June 5, 2019, Grassley held a Finance Committee
, “Foreign Threats to Taxpayer-Funded Research: Oversight Opportunities and Policy Solutions.” Following the hearing, Grassley called for the Office of National Security (located within HHS) to obtain access to certain government databases, to which that office previously had been denied access.
On August 14, 2019, Grassley
to the Treasury Department, asking about the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’ Henniges transaction, which involved a convoluted mix of American and Chinese-government linked companies, including one entity that is managed by Hunter Biden. He has since received multiple classified briefings regarding the transaction.
On October 2, 2019, Grassley sent a
to the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG) regarding a number of leaks of highly sensitive information in the past two years relating to the Russia investigation and now the Ukrainian whistleblower complaint.
On October 17, 2019, after sending repeated oversight letters to the executive branch, Grassley received a
from the State Department regarding its security review of Secretary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. That report identified 91 valid security incidents that were attributable to 38 individuals. The sanction for a violation includes suspension or revocation of the clearance, suspension without pay or termination.
In December 2018, Grassley’s staff interviewed two IC IG employees who were tasked to the Clinton investigation. Specifically, they interviewed them based on news reports that they had information relating to an alleged hack by China into Secretary Clinton’s non-government server. On August 14, Grassley and Sen. Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, publicly released a
Majority Staff Memo
and all supporting documentation regarding the investigation into whether China hacked Clinton’s non-government server.
Grassley reintroduced the
to expand efforts by the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center to help communities proactively mitigate threats of violence at schools. The bill would establish a national program on targeted
school violence prevention
and provide additional resources to expand research and training on a national scale. The bill also would require the Secret Service to develop an expansion plan and periodically report to Congress on its progress.
Grassley in September
on HHS to explain why it has yet to adopt watchdog agencies’ recommendations to improve accountability of grants awarded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In his
to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Grassley urged adoption by HHS of policies to enhance grant program oversight and promote access to treatment of childhood trauma. Grassley also requested an inventory of federal grant programs to prevent violence as well as metrics on grantee vetting and program performance.
With Senator Cruz, R-Texas, Grassley
Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act
. The legislation improves school safety and prevents guns from falling into the wrong hands by ensuring that relevant agencies and institutions accurately submit records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Grassley and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) championed the
Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act.
This measure, which passed both chambers in April and President Trump
, will provide children with complex medical needs, such as Down syndrome, the coordination of care needed to enjoy the healthiest life possible.
In April, Grassley joined Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in introducing the
. This legislation would guarantee that Americans have health care coverage, regardless of their health status or pre-existing conditions.
Grassley in January originated a
to the HHS Secretary, cosigned by a bipartisan group of 21 other senators, questioning recent changes to our national liver distribution policy. These changes could adversely impact rural communities in certain regions of the country. In December, Grassley initiated a related
, cosigned by Sen. Todd Young (R-In.) that calls for the Acting Inspector General at HHS to initiate a comprehensive examination of the adequacy of our nation’s organ procurement and transplantation system.
To reduce regulatory burdens on hospitals in rural or remote areas, Grassley called for CMS to update its guidance on the agency’s co-location policy. Co-location arrangements enable hospitals in these areas to partner with other hospitals and health care providers to offer a wider range of services. In June, Grassley
policy suggestions for CMS as the agency finalizes new guidance clarifying how CMS and state surveyors will evaluate the use of shared space, shared staff, and contracted services by hospitals that are co-located with other hospitals and health care providers under the Medicare program.
To better understand other unique challenges facing rural hospitals across the country, Grassley also participated in an August event sponsored by a Washington, D.C.-based
in Des Moines, Iowa. The senator’s keynote speech highlighted the importance of
in solving some challenges facing rural communities today.
specific information from the IRS regarding its oversight of nonprofit hospitals, after media reports emerged on this subject questioning whether these hospitals met the criteria for tax-exempt status, whether they served their communities appropriately and whether they served individuals in need regardless of ability to pay. Grassley later sent letters to the University of Virginia Health System and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tennessee, requesting information about their billing and debt-collection practices with respect to low-income patients.
To improve the efficiency of the Medicare appeals process, Grassley and Wyden this year reintroduced the