Monday, April 9, 2012

Chuck Grassley

Charles Ernest "Chuck" Grassley (born September 17, 1933) is the senior United States Senator from Iowa, serving since 1981. A member of Republican Party, he previously served in the served in the United States House of Representatives (1975–1981) and the Iowa state legislature (1959–1974). He was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from January to June 2001 and from January 2003 to December 2006. He is currently the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Grassley was born in New Hartford, Iowa, the son of Ruth (née Corwin) and Louis Arthur Grassley, and graduated from the town high school. At Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa), he earned a B.A. in 1955 and an M.A. in 1956. He also completed some doctoral studies in political science at the University of Iowa. Also during the 1950s, Grassley farmed and worked in factories, first as a sheet metal shearer and then as an assembly line worker.

Grassley represented parts of Butler County in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959 until 1974, when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served three terms.

As a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee Grassley has spearheaded many probes into the misuse and accountability of federal money. On June 28, 2006, Grassley proposed a so-called Pimp Tax intended to curb sex trafficking and sex slavery in the United States by means of strict enforcement of tax laws, for example by requiring a W-2 form be filed for each prostitute managed by a pimp or other employer.

The slang term Pimp Tax was parodied on an episode of the Daily Show on American cable television. On an episode aired August 14, Dan Bakkedahl interviewed Republican Congressperson Jack Kingston of Georgia and Arch Bishop Don Magic Juan on the subject.

In July 2007, a Grassley-commissioned report was released claiming that more than US$1 billion in farm subsidies were sent to deceased individuals. Grassley said: "It's unconscionable that the Department of Agriculture would think that a dead person was actively engaged in the business of farming."

Since 1976, Grassley has repeatedly introduced measures that increase the level of double taxation on American citizens living abroad, including retroactive tax hikes. Grassley was eventually able to attach an amendment to a piece of legislation that went into effect in 2006, which increased taxes on Americans abroad by targeting housing and living incentives paid by foreign employers and held them accountable for federal taxes, even though they did not currently reside in the United States. Critics of the amendment felt that the move hurt Americans competing for jobs abroad by putting an unnecessary tax burden on foreign employers. Others felt that the move was only to offset the revenue deficit caused by domestic tax cuts of the Bush Administration.

In March 2009, amid the scandal involving various AIG executives receiving large salary bonuses from the taxpayer-funded bailout of the corporate giant, Grassley sparked controversy by suggesting that those AIG employees receiving large bonuses should follow the so-called 'Japanese example', resign immediately or commit suicide. After much criticism he has not backed off of those comments, dismissing them as rhetoric.

At an August 12, 2009, meeting in Iowa, Senator Grassley supported the claims by health care reform opponents that end-of-life counseling provisions in the House health care bill, H.R. 3200, amounted to government sponsored euthanasia. In response to an audience question about the provision, Grassley said people were right to fear that the government would "pull the plug on grandma." Grassley had previously supported covering end-of-life counseling, having voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, which stated: "The covered services are: evaluating the beneficiary's need for pain and symptom management, including the individual's need for hospice care; counseling the beneficiary with respect to end-of-life issues and care options, and advising the beneficiary regarding advanced care planning."

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