June 16, 2024

Grassley speaks on national issues during local luncheon

Senator Grassley speaks with local Iowans during Wednesday's visit to Lenox.

LENOX - Senator Chuck Grassley arrived at Lenox last Wednesday for a lunch with local Iowans, answering their questions and concerns. Grassley opened the session by saying there was no question which would be “off-limits.”

Before questions began, Grassley gave a brief overview on why the legislative process was slow, saying Congress was only in session for 2.5 days per week. Grassley said this was different from when he started as a Senator, where he worked five days, and said this schedule wouldn’t be able to solve the U.S.’s problems.

National subjects local citizens were concerned about took the forefront of the discussions, such as the government’s recent proposal to ban TikTok, the farm bill and the national debt.

Regarding the national debt, Grassley said he was disappointed how the debt has been growing. He said previous debt from 1975-2015 had stayed “manageable” at 35% of the gross national product.

Now, the debt “worries him more than anything else,” saying the future of how the country is spending money is a “slippery slope.” Grassley also said that this administration “doesn’t care how much money they spend.”

“How far can this go on?” said Grassley. “As long as people have confidence to the ones in the federal government, we can go on. That confidence won’t last in an economic downturn.”

Grassley in his talks about the farm bill agreed with fellow Iowa Senator Joni Ernst’s estimate of a year delay for implementation, saying the government would be looking for another one-year extension following the end of 2023′s one-year extension.

This delay for the bill follows increased scrutiny for the contents of the bill, which Grassley also criticized. Grassley said 15% of the bill was for the reference prices for farmers while 85% was for food stamps. He says this can be balanced to better support farmers.

“We can’t raise the money for reference prices,” he said. “[The food stamps] would be a great place to get it.”

TikTok became a striking point for Grassley, who stated the goal of the government’s ban would have TikTok as a platform be sold to a United States-based business rather than the Chinese Communist Party.

Grassley considered this equal compared to how China functions around US-based social media platforms, banning them from the country in favor of Chinese-based social media.

The conversation shifted to a topic on the freedom of speech available on these platforms. Grassley cited Section 230, which protects social media platforms from being sued based on the content posted by users.

Grassley said this law could be revised to loosen some of the rights the platforms had so there can be more scrutiny to how they police their platforms.

Nick Pauly

News Reporter for Creston News Advertiser. Raised and matured in the state of Iowa, Nick Pauly developed a love for all forms of media, from books and movies to emerging forms of media such as video games and livestreaming.