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. JGB

    I kinda resent the government take over by the Democrats! Sick and tired of the Democrats making false claims as to why NO Republicans support this healthcare proposal.....................because it's crap and the MAJORITY of Americans are AGAINST it. Botox Pelosi can't understand that and has to cry her little eyes out.......too bad they don't move when she does! It's ok for her to call Bush and citizens who disagree with her names, but boy, she sure can't take what she dishes out. Come on California, we can certainly do better than her. Nutty San Francisco needs to change their image by dumping Pelosi and Newsom.

    September 17, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. HUGO

    I have a strong distaste for tax and spend and misrepresentation of the truth alike. Gosh, I sure hope that doesn't make the left call me a racist....

    September 17, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. VGal

    I kinda resent you for saying that any elected official plans to "kill grandma" – go scare someone else, bully.

    September 17, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. rw

    May God have mercy on Grassley and the Democrats who want to tax the living daylights out of the American people.

    People sooner or later are going to look at this so called reforms in healthcare and the conclusion they will come to is either politicians are misguided or they are frauds !

    September 17, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    OH YEAH? Well we resent the 8 rotten years of Bush/Cheney and the GOP's pandering to their lies and corruption.

    September 17, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  6. Astounded

    Are you kidding me? Who keeps reelecting this guy? I guess we get the government we deserve, what does that say about us?

    September 17, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. Mike in MN

    Oh come on Grassley, you should know by now Obama could care less what you or any Republican has to say or offer on anything.
    Ignore Obama's complaints about death panel claims or pulling the plug on grandma. These claims actually resulted in positive changes being made to the bills. Obama is just a nice sounding speech dressed up in a suit. He can't defend what is actually written in the bills because they don't line up with his lies so he attacks those who are exposing him. Don't worry about it, just keep up the fight.

    September 17, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Connie, Indiana

    He is a idiot. Quit playing to the base..This man or for that most republicans will not endorse any reform bill. They are hypocrits saying they want to work, to get a bill thru, then they will not support any bill. Iam so tired of these fools playing the Americans as if they are stupid and believe what they say. This country is screwed if this is the kind of people have running the government...

    September 17, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. jules sand-perkins

    Of course, Sen. Grassley is correct about the end-of-life counseling issue.
    When Obama says, "it's simply dishonest," how different is that from Wilson's statement, "you lie?"
    Can both statements be attributed to racism?

    September 17, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Chuck Grassley has been one of the most ill-informed and eager fulminators of misinformation throughout this healthcare debate and, frankly, on healthcare in general for many years....so, if anyone has the right to be offended...its the American people. Iowa deserves better....thank God they have Tom Harkin.

    September 17, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  11. T Mckinley

    I have a hard time believing that Sen. Grassly wants ANY kind of health care reform to pass. I have a suspicion that he is on this committee to stall health care reform as long as posssible, so his conservative colleagues will have a better chance at killing health care reform altogether.

    Sen. Grassly either needs to get on board with what the American people voted for in Nov. 2008, or he needs to step aside and get out of the way.

    September 17, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  12. Jack in Chicago

    Not a surprise, Grassley has resented Obama since he won the Iowa caucus. I guess Obama is supposed to allow them to lie to their constituents without comment. The truth is tough to handle Senator, the truth sometimes hurts. But the truth is that no one is pulling any plugs except perhaps the one connected to your senate seat come next election

    September 17, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  13. OldUncleTom

    The only job credential required to be a Senator in the US is to be over 30 and get the votes. Grassley may be the only pig farmer in the Senate, but he is far from the only village idiot.

    Come on, we all know somebody like him; he doesn't understand big words, but gets mad when you try to explain them to him.

    On one thing I agree... the Baucus Bill isn't "bi-partisan". It was written for the insurance industry, and very likely BY the insurance industry. Insurance is dedicated to putting it to ALL Americans equally, that is the only bipartisan thing about it.

    September 17, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  14. Jon

    So the mask has fallen. Grassley can't have it both ways, that he has been negotiating in good faith all along but that the bill would "pull the plug on Grandma." Now that it is obvious that the Republicans have no intention of cooperating on a bill would the Democrats please pass one on their own.

    September 17, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. mrmars

    Grassley has lost my respect. His catering to the "deather" paranoids at Iowa town meetings is an obvious pandering for votes in which the truth gets sacrificed for his personal gain. Reinforcing ruinous rumors that he KNOWS to be untrue is not leadership by any stretch of the imagination.

    September 17, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Notice Grassley doesn't deny his racism.

    September 17, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Nateer

    Sounds like to me that Grassley wanted to be primped, fluffed, and wanted his butt kissed all because he thought he was royalty and of, course, a Republican. Twit!!

    September 17, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. sine

    You SIR are disingenuous!!!!!! Stop saying one thing and doing another then maybe we will believe your so called 'bi-partisan" efforts.

    September 17, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. DonnaLee

    So the old dinosaur got offended because he was called out in the middle of another misrepresentation? I'd say get use to it.

    We need some kind of psycho active gizmo that turns Rethuglicans bright red when they are not telling the truth.

    Boy ... I bet you could see all that red from outer space.

    September 17, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  20. Don in Albuquerque

    When you go out and start telling lies to the American people you should take it personally ya old fool.

    September 17, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  21. Hopeful Optimist

    Fish or cut bait !!! Nobody cares anymore what the Repubs think, they are just AGAINST anything Obama wants. Screw 'em.

    September 17, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  22. evman

    Grassley, I'm sure they resent you too. You're a man of NO and an obstructionist without REAL and constructive ideas. More signs of irrelevency !!! Next...

    September 17, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Derek

    Sounds like he called you out Grassy!

    September 17, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Perusing-through

    CHUCK GRASSLEY IS A SKUNK! Did this old stupid fool expect to lie forever without the President FINALLY calling him out for his shameful, vile, and despicable lies ?!?

    September 17, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. JR

    So Grassley took offense when Obama called a lie, a lie, how very republican of him.

    September 17, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
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