September 17th, 2009
05:48 PM ET
5 years ago

Grassley: 'I kinda resent' White House over health care reform

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley - one of the Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee's "Gang of Six" - told reporters Thursday it's been six weeks since he's spoken to President Obama or anyone on the White House staff.

"I'll tell ya, there's some things that the president has said since then, that I took very personally," Grassley said.

The Iowa senator said he took offense to comments made by the president last month in response to a controversy of a provision regarding end-of-life counseling in one of the health care reform bills in the House.

"You have every right to fear," Grassley told constituents at a town hall in mid-August, "You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. [We] Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma."

At a health care event of his own last month, the president responded to similar criticism.

"The notion that somehow I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so that they can go around pulling the plug on grandma ... when you start making arguments like that, it's simply dishonest," Obama said.

The presidential comeback still doesn't sit well with Grassley. The senator said he resents accusations that he and other Republicans have been more concerned with scoring political points than achieving a consensus on policy in the debate over health care reform.

"I kinda resent – when I have been very candid with the President of the United States, face-to-face . . . And I leveled with him . . . And then we're accused by Axelrod of making political things and maybe not being serious in our negotiations," Grassley told reporters Thursday. "That's not a very good environment to carry on a conversation with the White House."

Grassley also suggested Thursday that it was "intellectually dishonest" to call the proposal unveiled by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, a bipartisan bill.

For several weeks, Baucus and Grassley have been working with two Republicans and two Democrats – known as the "Gang of Six" – in trying to strike a compromise that might win broad support in the Senate. Grassley and fellow Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe are not supporting the Baucus proposal that is set for mark-up in the Finance Committee. But the three Republicans have said they remain committed to crafting a bill that will garner bipartisan support.

–CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report.


Filed under: Charles Grassley • Health care • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Positive

    I am so sick of the GOP causing their own problems and then blaming other people for it and playing the victim. In this case, Sen. Grassley supported the false "death panel" nonsense with the statement "You have every reason to fear..." and then comes on with the victim nonsense because he got called on it.

    September 17, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  2. Zion

    Isn't it amazing. With all the hate Pres. Obama receives, he never whines about it. Learn another lesson about being a man from our president.

    September 17, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  3. centerleft

    Welcome to the GOP the party of cheese and whiners.

    September 17, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Screw Republican support. They are the party of NO., and anything Obama supports they'll go against. Maybe he should start opposing the things that he really wants done, then he'll get their support.

    September 17, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. lou

    Being from Iowa, I 'kinda resent' Grassley telling folks at a town meeting....mostly old folks....that the death panel thing wasn't all wrong. He had a chance to tell the truth and he didn't. A lot of folks who depend on him for factual Washington info went away more confused than ever.

    September 17, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  6. They call me "Tater Salad"

    And the American people "kinda resent" you on health care reform as well Mr. Grassley! You'll be finding that out in 2010 when you get bounced out of office! Better get that resume out there soon, the job market isn't too good right now! Like they say " the early bird gets the worm"! Better get cracking!

    September 17, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. They call me "Tater Salad"

    And the American people "kinda resent" you on health care reform as well Mr. Grassley! You'll be finding that out in 2010 when you get bounced out of office! Better get that resume out there soon, the job market isn't too good right now! Like they say " the early bird gets the worm"! Better get cracking! Start packing!!!

    September 17, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. New Yorker

    I more than Kind of resent the White House for their plans for health care reform. This is a power grab. I especially resent the plan to make mandatory health insurance or pay fines. This is a violation of our Tenth Amendment and if it becomes law I hope it is challenged and ruled against by the Supreme Court. For the president or anyone else to compare it to mandatory auto ins. is ridiculous. No one is forced to drive a car or pay a fine for not driving. FREE AMERICA; vote the Liberals out of office!!!!

    September 17, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  9. Good/Bad

    Honestly he is reading a bit into the comment itself. Perhaps that is because as he said the words mentioned where also the words that he himself used. The thing is though that those exact same words are ones that have been repeatedly used in a manner that is a far cry from what Grassely himself probably intended them to mean. In relation to his constituents those words have a high high probability of carrying a meaning far different then he ever intended. The reality is that those the words themselves due to the context that they have been cast in by numerous others beyond Grassely himself have resulted in them taking on a very specific meaning that is far from productive, and is intended to score political points. Whether he intended them that way is entirely another matter, but it highlights that all individuals need to be very very careful whenever they use any of the wording/phrases being thrown around in the vitrolic partisan rhetoric.

    September 17, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  10. Gidos

    The only Bill the Republicans will ever support is no bill at all.

    September 18, 2009 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. RMGofCO

    I resent you Senator! You lie!

    September 18, 2009 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
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