Happy Independence Day

The Declaration of Independence is perhaps the greatest expression of political freedom ever devised by humankind. It plainly states our liberties come from God, not from the government. What government giveth, it can taketh away. Ratified thirteen years later, the Constitution secures our freedoms, nailing down the principle that the people run the government, not the other way around. Celebrate on this day the freedoms you have, which are greater than any others in the history of the world. I wish every Iowan a happy Independence Day on this 241st anniversary of our nation’s founding.

Grassley Direct

I spoke with Cindy Kohlmann on KDTH in Duqubue about the Senate health care bill, lowering the prices of generic drugs, the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, the proposal to withdraw from the Waters of the U.S. rule, the partial reinstatement of President Trump's temporary travel ban, nursing home social media exposure and free speech on college campuses.

Q&A: Health Care Reform 

Q. Why are changes needed to fix the Affordable Care Act
Q. What would happen if no changes are made to the ACA? 

Quick Links 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation, which included language from a bill I introduced, honoring Iowan Sarah Root. Senator Ernst and I introduced Sarah’s Law following Sarah’s tragic death after being struck by an illegal immigrant who’d been street racing while drunk. The bill that passed this week would ensure that local authorities cooperate with federal law enforcement to take criminals off our streets and keep our communities safe.

I met with Christopher Wray, the president’s nominee to be director of the FBI. His nomination will be processed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which I lead. Because this is the number one law enforcement job in our country, it’s important that we consider this nominee without delay. You can see the beginning of our meeting here.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a vital national security tool that has helped to prevent attacks against America and our allies. Section 702 of a landmark national security law allows the government to collect the electronic communications of foreigners outside of the United States to gather information on those plotting to do us harm. We heard from national security and intelligence officials, privacy advocates and other legal experts about the program’s role in preventing terrorism and recommendations on how to move forward. Congress will have to reauthorize the program by the end of this year.

I co-authored the Physician Payments Sunshine Act after helping to uncover significant payments from the prescription drug and medical device industry to doctors that had not been disclosed. The information is tracked through the Open Payments database, which posted new data showing that the industry gave payments to doctors of $8.18 billion covering 11.96 million records for 2016. There’s no way to know how many questionable payments were never made because someone didn’t want to disclose them, but if sunshine has deterred questionable payments while letting doctors continue to act for patient benefit, then it’s a success.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers proposed to withdraw from the Waters of the U.S. rule. This was a bad regulation drafted under a bad process. Farmers, land owners and builders in Iowa struggled to make sense of the regulation, and the EPA over-reached its authority and ignored and manipulated legitimate concerns raised by the public. 

Competition in the prescription drug market is crucial to improving patient access to affordable medication. That's why I supported the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to publicly list off-patent drugs and expedite applications for lower-cost generics to help foster greater drug competition for consumers. In Congress, I'm also working to improve access to lower-cost generics. I've introduced two bills to end regulatory abuses by branded drug makers and pay-offs to generic drug makers that delay market access to less costly alternatives.

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