Grassley Direct

I spoke with Lara Netolicky of the Anamosa Journal-Eureka and AJ Taylor of KIOW Radio about last week's hearing on mergers in the seed and agrochemical industries, the override of President Obama's veto of legislation to give families of 9-11 victims their day in court, estate tax changes and passage of the Survivors' Bill of Rights.

Q&A: Mental Health

Q. Why are you co-sponsoring a bill to reform delivery of mental health services?

Q. Why is mental and behavioral health among members of our Armed Forces gaining urgency among the public and policymakers?

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Those who endure heinous crimes of sexual violence should not face an uphill battle in their pursuit of justice. This week, after months of working with an inspiring young rape survivor and advocate, Amanda Nguyen, and championing this legislation each step of the way, I led the Senate in passing the Survivors' Bill of Rights. This bill, which is on its way to be signed by the President, will improve access to important investigative tools and information for survivors of sexual assault.

I gave a speech on the Senate floor calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to improve the way it evaluates and prioritizes flood control projects after touring flooded areas of Eastern Iowa over the weekend. Senator Ernst and I also sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers demanding answers on why it has been so slow to make progress on completing flood mitigation projects in Cedar Rapids, frustrating the community.

Between August 23 and 27, parts of Northeastern Iowa suffered severe storms, straight-line winds and flooding. I sent a letter to the President requesting that he grant Governor Branstad's request for a declaration of a major disaster for those events. Yesterday the President issued that declaration, triggering the release of funds to help Iowans recover from those damages. 

I was one of three senators who asked the Justice Department if it might investigate whether Mylan overcharged taxpayers on EpiPens through Medicaid.  Earlier, I asked the Iowa attorney general to review whether Iowa taxpayers were overcharged.  He told me he’s looking into it.  It’s important for companies that participate in public health care programs to follow the letter and the spirit of the law.  Otherwise, taxpayers lose out. 

It’s disappointing when a federal agency that’s supposed to be on the front lines of fighting Zika still finds time to investigate and sideline a top scientist in this area. Thankfully the independent Office of Special Counsel announced that it helped restore a scientist to his position after his being sidelined for speaking out on Zika testing effectiveness. Whistleblowers ought to be encouraged to come forward, especially with something as critical as a public health threat. 

Since returning from the state work period in September, the Senate Judiciary Committee, which I lead, racked up several legislative and judicial accomplishments while continuing its work to improve government transparency and oversight. Read about those accomplishments on my website or in the committee's latest progress report.

The Senate and House of Representatives overwhelmingly overrode a Presidential Veto of legislation that would give the families and victims of 9-11 their day in court against foreign sponsors of terrorism.  I'm an original cosponsor of the bill and led it through the Judiciary Committee by a unanimous vote. 

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