Several topics came up. Among them concern about rural hospitals not being able to be certified for medicare funds, and new regulations stipulating that a physician has to be in the building when certain procedures, such as starting IV’s are performed. Many people brought up the possibility of defunding the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.
Other topics included support for the Renewable Fuel Standard and concern about what is going on in Syria.
Representatives of “America’s Voice” — a group pushing for immigration reform — thought it was noteworthy that Grassley, who is one of the chief opponents of the Senate immigration bill; conceded at the Rock Rapids meeting that the Senate bill is not amnesty.
In response to a constituent’s question—“Do you consider the Senate immigration bill amnesty?”—Grassley replied, “I don’t use that word. It’s a little bit different than what we did in 1986. I would call the immigration bill in 1986 amnesty.”
Grassley went on to explain what he thought were the flaws in the 1986 bill and its inadequate provisions for border security. In comparison, the Senate bill as written by the Gang of 8 earlier this year contained clauses that required strict border security before legalization could begin.
Grassley tells us what issues were on the minds of the northwest Iowans he met with this week:
He says as far as the farm bill goes, he thinks as a matter of compromise, it has to include both food stamps and agriculture programs to appeal to members of Congress from both urban and rural states.
At the Rock Rapids meeting, a delegation from the Lewis and Clark Regional Water system were there to try to pin the Senator down on an issue. Sheldon City Manager Scott Wynja tells us they wanted to hear that Grassley would be in support of a measure to differentiate money for authorized projects from money for pork barrel earmarks.
He says he understands why Grassley was reluctant, but still thinks money for authorized projects should not be considered earmarks.
Hull City Administrator Aaron Kooiker told the Senator and the audience there the at the Agropur cheese plant is ready to do a $50 million expansion at their Hull facility, but cannot, due to the fact that the Lewis and Clark Project hasn’t come to Hull yet. He says it would increase the economic impact of the Agropur plant from $500 million in the local area to $1 billion.