Washington (CNN) - Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued the following statement:
“A lifetime appointment requires a thorough vetting and I expect Elena Kagan to receive fair, respectful and deliberative consideration. The Constitution gives the Senate a tremendous responsibility to carefully review the President’s nominees to the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Committee must take time to ensure that the nominee will be true to the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or preferences. With no judicial experience, it becomes even more important that we ask thorough questions to determine that Ms. Kagan truly understands the constitutional role of a Supreme Court justice.”
Washington (CNN) - Iowa voters hold Sen. Chuck Grassley in high regard, but the veteran Republican potentially faces a tough re-election in what is shaping up to be a difficult year for incumbents.
Grassley has a favorable rating of 58 percent, according to a new Research 2000 poll conducted for KCCI. But Grassley, first elected to the Senate in 1980, has dropped 21 points over the past few months in a hypothetical match-up against Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin. The KCCI poll shows that Grassley leads Conlin 49 percent to 40 percent. The telephone survey of 600 likely voters was conducted between May 3-5 and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
In past elections, the five-term senator has enjoyed healthy margins of victory. In 2004, Grassley topped his Democratic opponent 70 percent to 28 percent.
Washington (CNN) – On the same day that senators questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about how the administration fights terrorism, a Republican senator had some advice for President Obama.
Asked about Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the White House should use the procedures and facilities put in place by the previous president.
“I'm not a lawyer, but I think he's a terrorist just like anybody else,” Grassley said on CNN’s John King, USA. “So bring - I would bring him to Guantanamo, and I would try him in a military commission there and carry whatever out the results of the military commission is. I'd make it that simple.”
Grassley also weighed in on a frequent Republican charge against Obama – that his policies on national security and homeland security have made the nation less safe since he took office last year.
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.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A Democratic Senate chairman at the heart of Capitol Hill's delicate health-care negotiations announced Wednesday that he intends to unveil a long-awaited compromise reform bill from his committee next week.
Sen. Max Baucus of Montana , head of the Senate Finance Committee, also told reporters that he is prepared to move forward in the legislative process with or without Republican support.
"The time has come for action and we will act," Baucus told reporters.
"We have a path for moving forward. This is our moment."
The Finance Committee's "Gang of Six," a group of three Democratic and three Republican senators, has been working for months to craft bipartisan health-care legislation.
What's next in the health care fight? CNN Radio takes a look ahead
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A source close to Republican Sen. Charles Grassley tells CNN he intends to offer counter proposals to Sen. Max Baucus tomorrow morning, as the Senate Finance Committee chair requested.
What changes he will offer is still unclear. He and his aides will work on it tonight.
The source did not want to speak on the record by name discussing internal deliberations.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A copy of the 18-page health care proposal from Sen. Max Baucus, obtained by CNN from both a Democratic and Republican source, reveals more detail about the Finance Committee chairman's proposal.
Read the plan full here (pdf)
A source close to Republican Sen. Grassley tells CNN that in addition to the problem he has with the fee on insurance companies, a concern he expressed on CNN this morning, he also does not like the overall price tag, which he thinks will be about $880 billion. The Iowa senator had been hoping for something in the $750-$780 billion ballpark.
Democratic sources tell us that Baucus will use today's 2:30 pm ET meeting to gauge whether he can get a deal with the Republicans in the so-called "Gang of Six," especially Grassley and Sen. Mike Enzi, or whether he will have to move on and schedule a Finance Committee markup without a bipartisan agreement.
Democratic sources say Baucus will likely make that decision before the president's speech tomorrow night.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, dismissed Democratic criticism Wednesday that it increasingly appears he doesn't want any health care deal at all - a key point Democrats have been making to justify the possibility of going it alone, without GOP votes.
"I've said all year that something as big and important as health care legislation should have broad-based support," Grassley told CNN. "So far, no one has developed that kind of support, either in Congress or at the White House. That doesn't mean we should quit. It means we should keep working until we can put something together that gets that widespread support."
Top Democrats close to the White House have told CNN the Obama administration is looking hard at pushing through a health-care reform bill without Republican backing.
UPDATE, 1 p.m.: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus released a statement Wednesday saying negotiations remained on track.
"Bipartisan progress continues," said Baucus. "The Finance Committee is on track to reach a bipartisan agreement on comprehensive health care reform that can pass the Senate. Our group will be meeting tomorrow and our staffs continue to meet as well. I am confident we will continue our steady progress toward health care reform that will lower costs and provide quality, affordable coverage to all Americans."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senator Chuck Grassley, the lead Republican in bipartisan health care negotiations, disclosed Tuesday morning that in a private meeting with President Obama earlier this month, he personally urged the president to make clear he is not wedded to a public option.
“I told the president then that he needed to make public whether or not he could sign a bill that didn't have a public option in it," Grassley said on Radio Iowa. "He didn't have to take a position against a public option, but would he sign a bill that wouldn't have a public option in it, and I thought a statement from him would be very helpful."
Grassley and the five other bipartisan negotiators met with the president on August 6, just before leaving Washington for summer recess, to discuss their efforts towards a health care bill that can pass the Senate Finance Committee in September.
Listen: Grassley discusses his conversation with Obama on Radio Iowa
On Saturday, President Obama said “the public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not the entirety of health care reform.”
Then on Sunday, on CNN’s State of The Union, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said a public option is “not an essential element.”
White House spokesman Bill Burton stuck to the administration’s contention that it has not changed its position on a public option, and he expressed doubt that Grassley’s plea to the president earlier this month had any impact on the administration’s comments this past weekend.
(CNN) - Now it's the Republicans' turn to face the health-care debate back home.
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley held the first of four town meetings in his home state Wednesday, welcoming what he called a much larger crowd than the usual political gathering.
"We're here at a time when I sense that people are scared for our country and that's why we're having big turnouts," he said to a mostly conservative audience of about 200 people.
The outdoor gathering in Winterset, Iowa, erupted in argument a few times after some left-leaning questions, but the overall tone was more orderly than similar health-care meetings by Democratic politicians.
Grassley is one of six members of the Senate Finance Committee - three Democrats and three Republicans - negotiating the only bipartisan health-care legislation so far.
Listen: CNN's Candy Crowley reports on Grassley's town hall
The six negotiators are not considering a government-funded public health insurance option favored by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders, but are looking at non-profit cooperatives that would negotiate collective polices for members.
Grassley warned that the months of negotiations may fail to produce a bill he can support.
"Nothing may come out of our committee," Grassley said. "It may not be something I can agree with, so I may be pushed away from the table."
He listed his conditions for a bill, saying "what we stand for is that the government is not going to take over the health-care system."