April 02,2009

Grassley casts 10,000th Senate vote

Working for Iowa puts Grassley on list with 28 other U.S. senators in history

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today cast his 10,000 Senate vote, a milestone that’s been reached by only 28 other senators, including nine serving today. Since 1789, there have been 1,910 members of the U.S. Senate. During the last 20 years, the Senate has held an average of 336 votes each year.

Grassley holds the record for the longest streak of successive votes among current senators, having cast 5,473 consecutive votes. Grassley last missed a vote in July 1993, when he accompanied President Bill Clinton to Iowa to inspect flood damage.

Of today’s occasion, Grassley said, “It’s not the numbers themselves that matter so much, but people are cynical about government and wonder if you’re really on the job. When the Senate’s in session, I’m in Washington voting, and when the Senate is out of session, I’m in Iowa’s 99 counties holding meetings with constituents. It’s a way to quantify my respect for the public trust I hold in representing Iowans and to do the job I’m elected to do.” Grassley’s 10,000th vote was on a Johanns amendment to the budget resolution for fiscal year 2010.

Grassley was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980, and he has held at least one official meeting in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties every year since then. He says the process of representative government is a two-way street. “I have a responsibility to go to Iowans to ask for their views and answer their questions, and they have a responsibility to let me know what they think. I want to foster that process, and going to every county every year is a way to do so.” Grassley also has made constituent service a priority and provides casework and other assistance at six offices across Iowa.

In the Senate, Grassley is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance, which is responsible for legislation dealing with tax, international trade, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and social services. He’s also a senior member of the Judiciary and Budget committees and a member of the Agriculture Committee. He co-chairs the Caucus on International Narcotics Control and is a member of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

This year, Grassley is working on comprehensive bipartisan health care reform legislation; to end agreements between brand-name and generic drug manufacturers that deny consumers access to lower-priced medicines; for approval of international trade agreements that create new markets for U.S. exports; and to strengthen family farms with common-sense EPA regulations and by breaking down barriers to competition in an agricultural marketplace that has become unfairly concentrated. Grassley also is conducting extensive oversight of the government’s effort to rescue the financial system. He is holding the new administration accountable for making government more transparent, as promised, and seeking to update whistleblower protections. Grassley is working to disclose financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and physicians, and he’s investigating drug-safety issues.

Grassley’s legislative record as a senator includes a 2008 reform to make it easier for foster kids to be adopted; a 2008 tax law to get the same help to Iowa flood and tornado victims that was made available to Hurricane Katrina victims; changes to the 2008 farm program to tighten income-eligibility limits and strengthen competition in the livestock industry; a 2006 law to safeguard worker pensions with post-Enron reforms; enactment in 2006 of a Grassley-Kennedy bill to give parents of kids with disabilities access to the Medicaid program so parents can keep their jobs; dramatic expansion in 2005 of the wind energy production tax credit Grassley first authored in 1992, expansion of incentives for biodiesel, biomass, ethanol and solar energy, creation of bonds to help rural coops generate renewable electricity, and new incentives for energy conservation in homes and cars; a 2004 law that reformed international and corporate tax laws to make America more competitive and shut down tax shelters and havens to improve tax fairness; the 2003 Medicare overhaul that created the Medicare prescription drug benefit; the biggest in a generation 2001 tax cut that lowered marginal rates, created the first-ever 10-percent bracket for low-income taxpayers, made tax-free savings plans for college a permanent part of the tax code, created the tax deduction for tuition, and secured the tax deductibility of student loans; the 1995 law that applied federal labor and civil rights laws for Congress for the first time ever; the 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act; and the 1986 amendments to the federal False Claims Act, which empowered whistleblowers and have recovered more than $21 billion for the U.S. Treasury that otherwise would be lost to fraud.

Grassley conducts active congressional oversight of the executive branch of government. His efforts have been recognized by whistleblower advocacy groups and journalist organizations for protecting press freedom and the First Amendment.

Grassley is the 11th most senior member of the U.S. Senate and the fourth most senior Republican senator.

Other senators currently serving who have cast more than 10,000 votes are Senators Max Baucus of Montana, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Patrick Leahy of Vermont,
Carl Levin of Michigan, and Richard Lugar of Indiana.