Washington Evening Journal
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The Union had an opportunity to speak with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) during a phone call with reporters earlier this week.
Grassley answered questions on a variety of subjects ranging from immigration to infrastructure to the environment.
Grassley was asked what he thought about the idea of making it easier to immigrate to the United States as a way of relieving the suffering of people turned away at the border.
Grassley said he thinks there are some occupations, such as agricultural workers and professionals such as engineers and perhaps seasonal workers, where the U.S. could take in more of those workers. He said if such a bill were proposed in the Senate, it would receive 70 votes.
However, Grassley said the problem with immigration bills is that they often contain too many amendments and “never get to 60 votes.”
Grassley was asked about what he thought of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announcing she did not want Iowa to accept asylum-seekers. Grassley said he’s not sure governors have the authority to keep refugees out of their state. He said Iowa has a history of accepting refugees such as when Iowa Gov. Robert Ray took a leading role in advocating on behalf of Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s.
Some Democrats in Congress have discussed their desire to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate that effectively requires legislation to receive 60 votes in order to pass as opposed to a simple majority. Grassley was asked about his thoughts on the matter, and he said he did not like the idea since he felt it would lead to less bipartisanship.
“If you look at the House of Representatives [which has no filibuster], the majority can ignore the minority,” Grassley said.
Grassley said eliminating the filibuster would go against what the founders sought in creating the Senate, which he said was to be a deliberative body.
President Joe Biden has announced a plan to repair U.S. infrastructure, and one plank of it is to promote the adoption of electric vehicles. Grassley was asked what he thought about this and how it might affect Iowa. He responded that he was concerned about the plan’s effect on the ethanol industry.
“If by 2025, half the cars sold have to be electric, then we’re not going to have 43,000 jobs in the ethanol industry,” Grassley said.
Grassley was asked what he thought about a so-called “carbon tax” as a way of discouraging the production of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. He said he liked the idea better than regulation, though he added that agriculture is an energy-intensive sector and that a carbon tax would be bad for the industry.
Some members of Congress have put forward a plan to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state. Residents of the city have representation in the U.S. House of Representatives but not in the Senate.
Grassley said he didn’t like the idea of making the city into a state because at the time it was established, the framers of the Constitution never expected it to be a state.