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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Grassley, locals debate health care, immigration

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (left) talks with John Lucken, of Akron, following a town hall meeting at the Akron Fire Station Monday. Grassley addressed questions and concerns from the audience, which numbered about 50 people.
United States Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) discussed everything from health care to commercial driver's licenses at a town hall meeting Monday.

About 50 people from across Plymouth County attended the meeting at the Akron Fire Station.

"I think we have a responsibility to encourage dialogue between elected officials and the public," Grassley said in his opening comments. "I get to every county every year."

Health care reform

Grassley answered several questions about the Affordable Care Act, referred to by some as "Obamacare."

Earl Draayer, Le Mars Airport manager, asked Grassley if he thought the law could be overturned as Gov. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has promised.

"If he's elected president, yes," Grassley said. "It would not be easy but I think it could be done."

A woman at the Town Hall addressed what she called a "rumor" about members of Congress not having to abide by "Obamacare."

Grassley said he pays 32 percent of his health insurance premium with Blue Cross Blue Shield, noting that some state lawmakers don't pay anything for health insurance premiums.

"In 2014, I will have to go to the (insurance) exchange just like everyone else," Grassley said.

He said he had proposed an amendment that would have allowed no exclusions in the health care law for members of Congress, but it had not been fully approved.

"The elite people on Capitol Hill will be covered as they have always been," Grassley said. "At least I got 80 percent of what I wanted."

He also noted that when "Obamacare" is implemented in 2014 it could be more of a benefit for the upper class as opposed to those with lower incomes.

"People in New York who are making $80,000 a year could get some help on their health care whereas poor people might get nothing," Grassley said.

Audience member John Lucken, of Akron, asked if unions would be exempted from the health care law.

"So far about 1,000 waivers have been given to corporations and unions," Grassley said.


A man in the audience asked Grassley if there wasn't some way a program could be created to allow immigrants to come in to help with food harvest, if local people are not available.

"It came to my attention recently that a fruit grower in California was unable to find a workforce to harvest his crop," the man said.

Grassley said he has and would again vote for a bill to allow guest workers to come into the U.S.

However there were two very different bills proposed by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, Grassley said.

"Sen. Feinstein wants to legalize people who have already come here illegally, in other words there's amnesty," Grassley said. "Chambliss doesn't even deal with that."

He said the bills reflect a typical mindset resulting from a decision in 1986 to legalize three million illegal immigrants to eliminate illegal immigration.

"Then 10 years later you find out it doesn't stop illegal immigration. You find out also that by legalizing three million people you encourage more illegal immigration," Grassley said.

He said he would vote again for Chambliss' bill because it does not allow for any amnesty for illegal immigrants living in the U.S.

Grassley noted that guest workers programs did exist in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

"The unions got rid of them," he said. "We've been trying to pass one in the last 20 years and we can't get it done."

National debt

Chad Ericson, of Akron, asked Grassley if he had read a book called "The Clash of Generations," noting that the authors had both done actuary or financial assessment work for two presidents.

Ericson said people like himself are concerned about the state of the nation, which the book discusses.

The current national debt has been reported as $15-$18 trillion, he said.

However, the book's authors put that number at about $211 trillion after adding in unfunded liabilities within the Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare programs, Ericson said.

Ericson said he doesn't want his descendants to get stuck paying the debt.

"They have no say in what's happening but they will have to pay the bill," he said.

Grassley did not debate the issue saying only that the budget presented to Congress by the president was defeated 98-0 with "not a single Democrat voting for it."

When asked why, Grassley said it was difficult to explain.

"I will just tell you the congressional budget looks ahead 10 years," he said. "In that 10 years, the president's budget had added another $9 trillion to the national debt."

Other subjects discussed Monday include:

* Plymouth County Supervisor Craig Anderson told of the county's inability to continue commercial driver's license testing because it did not have a large testing area required by new federal laws. Grassley said it was the first he had heard of the issue and directed Anderson to rally other counties and senators from other states to write letters in an attempt to change the rules.

* A man in the audience asked Grassley if he could see to it that money going to Planned Parenthood is reduced. The man said the abortion issue is going to "wreak havoc on the nation" and that "euthanasia is just down the road." Grassley said he had voted on a proposal to cut back on funding for Planned Parenthood.

* Cathy VanMaanen, Council on Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Plymouth County outreach coordinator, asked for Grassley's continued support of the Violence Against Women Act, which provides dollars to help victims of violence. She explained the CSADV had reduced its staff by 50 percent but that it still needed to provide the live-saving services. "We are making a difference but we need your help to continue," she said.

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Obamacare will be another significantly under-funded liability that will be passed on to our children and grandchildren and future generations. Abortion is a related issue to the financial well-being of our nation. The current admisnistration is rife with people like science czar John Holdren who advocate population control and HHS director Kathleen Sebelius who wields a lot of control over Obamacare. If we systematically destroy our future population in the name of "choice," our enomorous government programs will continue to be severly under-funded.

-- Posted by working_class_dog on Tue, Jul 3, 2012, at 12:50 PM

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