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. Patrick

    The world to Grassley: get over it. When your inflammatory remarks come rebounding back at you, get over it. When bipartisanship fails because your party won't sign on to anything the administration will agree to, get over it. When you loose the White House and both houses of congress because you failed the American people and represent that which they do not want, get over it.

    The GOP wants to be bipartisan NOW but had no problem with party line votes for years. That is what is "intellectually dishonest" here.

    September 17, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Eugene

    Sen. Grassley sounds like he should get over the crybaby stuff. He is seriously misled about what the President intends for reform.

    September 17, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. Enough

    Well the Democrats don't need any Republican support and they clearly don't care that the majority of the country are AGAINST this plan. Democrats only know how to throw accusations if you disagree with their vision for the destruction of America.

    All Republicans and Blue Dogs should stick to their beliefs and vote NO on this crap. This is NOT what we believe in and the Democrats can destroy everything all by themselves.

    September 17, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. WhoCares?

    So you are mad that he called you out for LYING to you constituents?

    Ohh....I'm weeping for you Grassley...just weeping for you.

    How much money has the health Insurance companies lined your pockets with...I'm sure you can use those millions to wipe your eyes.

    September 17, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Nice try Senator, but neither the president or the liberals get it. They think they can just keep calling those who disagree with them names, demeaning and degrading them, labeling it as racial and get away with it. They just don't get it, starting with the thinking that it is all their money and they just let us have enough to get by on. They think they know how to spend our money better than we do. They are arrogant, greedy and run by unions, which are arrogant and greedy and want everyone to follow in their lockstep. That is their problem, they sold their souls to the unions at very young ages and the bargain they made with the devil is coming back at them.

    September 17, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Lisa P

    Senator Grassley could have continued bipartisan negotiations or he could repeat his party leaders' lies. He chose to repeat the lies. End of negotiations - clearly he was more interested in scoring political points than in crafting real reform. Out with Grassley! Unlike Snowe and Enzi he's only interested in sabotaging the process.

    September 17, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Len Smith

    Sad to say, but Senator Grassley sounds like a loser, but then again his orders are to disrupt anything that the Obama administration wants to do to help the American people. It would be nice if the Republicans would think more about the people then themselves. Remember it has been the Democrats that have done the most for all of the American people, except build the Interstate and that was a Republican.

    September 17, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Chris - Seattle

    Well it would help if you start spewing facts instead of lies!

    September 17, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Gary

    Wasn't the end of life counseling a Republican proposal? Grassley had no intention of helping draft anything.

    September 17, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Georgia

    WHO CARES if Grassley says "I kind of resent – when I have been very candid with the President"!

    What is he talking about being "candid"? Since when? He says one thing to the POTUS – then totally reverses it when speaking to some "Tea Party" wingnuts later!

    He has a TOTAL LACK of CREDIBILITY!

    He emits out of his mouth the same thing that comes out of the south end of a PIG (which are so plentiful in Iowa)!!!!

    September 17, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. Rob

    Well Sen. Grassley, perhaps if you truly understood what's its like for regular folks to try and get affordable healthcare you'd sing a different tune – but you get pretty nice coverage being a member of Congress and frankly are out of touch.

    The Republican Party is a sham – filled to the brim with more and more extreme fringe elements. If Republicans are such God/Jesus loving people, how come they don't act as such? Jesus wouldn't tolerate 49 million Americans without access to health coverage.

    The Republican Party – Do as we say, not as we do.

    September 17, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. jr

    I suppose Grassley felt intellectually honest when he was "negotiating" for health care reform and mailing out "defeat Obamacare" propaganda to his constituents at the same time. Do these people not understand how the internet works? Attention Chuck – you can't spew your woe is me lies anymore – it's all on the tubes!

    September 17, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    Since when does one liar from a small state get to dictate to the rest of the country?

    Since snake in the grassley became senator.

    I hope Iowa people's brains thaw out before the next election.

    YOU LIE grassass

    September 17, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. gl, Pittsburgh

    Grassley is a racist fool that just can not keep his story straight and would love to kill the health care bill.

    September 17, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. victim of republican greed

    Grassley owes Iowans an apology. He reiterated Sarah Palin's take on death panels which was a lie. None of his nonsense has any merit. Obama knows that Grassley will vote against anything that will jeopardize Grassley's sweet deals from the health insurance industry.

    Charles does not represent Americans, he is a senator for corporate greed.

    September 17, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. victim of republican greed

    I, for one, kinda resent Grassley.

    September 17, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. jfs Memhis, Tn

    We kind of resent a group of Senators that are not being farsighted enough to offer American Taxpayers a real bang for our buck. Why is it okay to pay for WARS in faraway lands for oil corporations and not okay to offer a program that offers a basic commodity like health care to all Americans ???

    September 17, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. gl, Pittsburgh

    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.

    President Obama it is time to move foward with out the GOP they will not support any health care bill no matter what and the more time you give the GOP to continue fear the American people the harded it will be to pass a bill.

    September 17, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. JAY

    If they save money on Medicare reform , they should put that money back
    into Medicare ,and pay back the money the governments been taking out
    of Social security and Medicare , that might stop them from going broke,
    and provide better health care for the elderly.

    September 17, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. jeff

    Well if you would just tell the truth he would listen to you. If you want to be heard please explain how private insurance is better than a public option. Private insurance only cares about their profits. Public Option will care about your health. Which would you like. The wars over the last 9 years has cost more than any public option would cost over the same time. Do you want to help American or the rest of the world.

    September 17, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. dustin

    and we resent grassley for spreading mis-information on death panels, what a waste of space this guy has turned out to be.

    September 17, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. Tek

    What is this idiot talking about. I don't know the guy's name who actually introduced the end of life provision, but I do know he is a republican. I also know for a fact that it was actually a bipartisan provision but now it isn't because you cannot have Obama get healthcare passed.

    September 17, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. Gus

    Grassley is a lightweight. He has never said anything worthwhile. As mediocre a politician as there ever was.

    September 17, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. SaintGenesius

    Grassley should do what he suggested wall street executives do after those bonuses.

    September 17, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  25. USA

    Well, I kinda resent that the Republican party is more concerned with political points than fixing the problem. Any problem.

    September 17, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
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