Chuck Grassley

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Chuck Grassley
Chuck Grassley.jpg
U.S. Senate, Iowa
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2017
Years in position 34
PredecessorJohn C. Culver (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 4, 1980
Next generalNovember 8, 2016
Campaign $$15,339,671
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House of Representatives
Iowa House of Representatives
Bachelor'sUniversity of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
Master'sUniversity of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls
Date of birthSeptember 17, 1933
Place of birthNew Hartford, Iowa
Net worth$2,565,038
Office website
Campaign website
Charles Ernest "Chuck" Grassley (b. September 17, 1933, in New Hartford, Iowa) is a Republican member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Iowa. Grassley was first elected to the Senate in 1980.[1]

He previously was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981 and a member of the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959 to 1974.[1]

He announced in September 2013 that he will seek re-election in 2016.[2]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Grassley is an average Republcian member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Republcian Party on the majority of bills.


Grassley was born in 1933 in New Hartford, Iowa, where he also attended high school. He earned a B.A. in 1955 from Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls), as well as an M.A. in 1956 from the same institution. Grassley also pursued graduate work in political science at the University of Iowa, Iowa City from 1957-58. He served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959-74, and in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1974-80 before being elected to the Senate.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Grassley's political career:[4]

  • Iowa House of Representatives, 1959-1975
  • U.S. House of Representatives, 1975-1981
  • U.S. Senate, 1981-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Grassley serves on the following Senate committees:[5]

  • Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
    • Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security
    • Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research
    • Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation
  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on Finance
    • The Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness
    • The Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
    • The Subcommittee on Healthcare
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security
    • Bankruptcy and the Courts subcommittee
    • Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights subcommittee


Grassley serves on the following Senate committees:[6]



Hold on Department of Homeland Security nominee

Grassley announced on November 20, 2013, that he placed a hold on Jeh Johnson’s nomination for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He said he has no plan to relent until Johnson provides him with key information about his views on immigration.[7]

“We asked if he would cooperate with us on oversight matters and work with us to improve immigration policies going forward,” Grassley said. “We have not yet received a response from Mr. Johnson.”[7]

Grassley and five other senators sent a letter to Johnson on November 15, 2013, asking him a wide variety of questions on immigration policy and oversight issues at the Department of Homeland Security.[7]

Three Senate Republicans, Grassley, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, publicly said they have placed a hold on Johnson's nomination.[7]

Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[8] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Grassley's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[9]

National security

American response in Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

Although he said he finds the president’s statements “compelling,” Grassley also said Iowans at town hall meetings had “lots of questions” and showed no support for military intervention.[10]

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "No" Grassley voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[11]

Drones filibuster
See also: Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination in March 2013

On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists criticized President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.[12][13][14]

According to the website Breitbart, Grassley was one of 30 Republican senators who did not support the filibuster.[15][16]

The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."[17]


Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[18] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Grassley voted with the Republican Party against the bill.[19]

No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "No" Grassley voted against H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspended the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[11]

2013 Senate Budget Proposal

Voted "No" Grassley voted against the 2013 Senate Budget Proposal.[11] On March 23, after an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., by a 50 to 49 vote the Democratically controlled Senate approved its first budget in four years. No Republicans voted for the Senate plan, and four Democrats opposed it. All four are from red states and are up for re-election in 2014. Grassley was one of the four Democrats who voted against the budget proposal.[11]

The approved plan is a $3.7 trillion budget for 2014 and would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red for the next decade.

The approval of a budget in the Senate began the process of setting up contentious, and potentially fruitless, negotiations with the Republican-controlled House starting in April to reconcile two vastly different plans for dealing with the nation’s economic and budgetary problems.

The House plan would have brought the government’s taxes and spending into balance by 2023 with cuts to domestic spending even below the levels of automatic across-the-board cuts for federal programs now, and it orders up dramatic and controversial changes to Medicare and the tax code.

The Senate plan differed greatly, and included $100 billion in upfront infrastructure spending to bolster the economy and calls for special fast-track rules to overhaul the tax code and raise $975 billion over 10 years in legislation that could not be filibustered. Even with that tax increase and prescribed spending cuts, the plan approved by the Senate would leave the government with a $566 billion annual deficit in 10 years, and $5.2 trillion in additional debt over that window.


Completion of fence along Mexico border

Voted "Yes" Grassley voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[11]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Voted "No" Grassley voted against S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[11]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "No" Grassley voted against the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of five Republicans that voted against the bill. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[20]

Future of the Republican Party

Real Clear Politics' Morning Commute video of Grassley on the future of the Republican Party.

Chuck Grassley appeared in a video from Real Clear Politics: Morning Commute's Tom Bevan to discuss the future of the Republican Party, and what role the Tea Party will play in it.[21] The video was posted on August 12, 2013.[21]

Senate Judiciary Committee

Grassley was first appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee shortly after being first sworn into the Senate in 1981.[22] Grassley is the second-longest tenured Republican on the committee since 2009 and one of six non-lawyer members on the committee. Also, Grassley is the longest tenured non-lawyer member on the committee, and tied with Arlen Specter as the third longest tenured members of the committee with 28 years of service.

Grassley serves on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Crime and Drugs, and Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.[23]

Sotomayor hearings

Senator Grassley's background as a farmer makes him one of the leading property rights advocates and experts on the Senate Judiciary Committee. During the 2009 confirmation hearings of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Grassley questioned the judge intensely on the issue of property rights including the well noted Kelo v. New London case. Senator Grassley expressed serious concerns during the round of questioning towards Judge Sotomayor on the government's use of the "public use" and "public doctrine" doctrines towards eminent domain. Those two doctrines were a common part of the the Kelo case. Also, Grassley had concerns on how Sotomayor would rule to honor state laws that would prohibit states from enacting the Kelo ruling if a certain case came to the Supreme Court.[24]

Didden v. Port Chester was another case that was mentioned during the questioning. This was when a New York man claimed that a property developer illegally took his house away to build a national chain drug store. Sotomayor responded she would uphold the ruling against Didden because Didden did not file the case on-time over the statute of limitations. Sotomayor ruled on that case when she was a judge in the Second Circuit.[24]

Sotomayor told Grassley she would rule against the takings clause, citing that the Constitution prohibits taking of land from private property without proper compensation, if a similar case like Didden came to the Supreme Court. The now Supreme Court justice said she would look closely at a state based law prohibiting the enactment of the Kelo decision before making a decision on the legality of the law if it came to the nation's highest court.[24]



Grassley announced in September 2013 that he will seek re-election in 2016.[25]


U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngChuck Grassley Incumbent 64.4% 718,215
     Democratic Roxanne Conlin 33.3% 371,686
     Libertarian John Heiderscheit 2.3% 25,290
Total Votes 1,115,191

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Grassley is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Grassley raised a total of $15,339,671 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 3, 2013.[30]

Chuck Grassley's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2010 U.S. Senate (Iowa) Won $7,701,183
2004 U.S. Senate (Iowa) Won $7,638,488
Grand Total Raised $15,339,671


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Grassley is a "rank-and-file Republican," as of June 21, 2013.[31]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[32]

Grassley most often votes with:

Grassley least often votes with:

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Grassley missed 36 of 11,157 roll call votes from Jan 1981 to Mar 2013. This amounts to 0.3%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among currently serving senators as of March 2013.[33]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Grassley paid his congressional staff a total of $2,621,953 in 2011. He ranks 13th on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranks 56 overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Iowa ranks 26th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[34]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Grassley's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $1,258,076 and $3,872,000. That averages to $2,565,038, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2011 of $6,358,668. His average net worth decreased by 19.40% from 2010.[35]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Grassley's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $1,654,082 and $4,711,000. That averages to $3,182,541, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2010 of $7,054,258.[36]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Grassley ranked 25th in the conservative rankings in 2012.[37]


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Grassley ranked 20th in the conservative rankings among U.S. senators.[38]

Voting with party


Chuck Grassley voted with the Republican Party 91.5% of the time, which ranked 10th among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.[39]


Grassley has been married to his wife Barbara Ann (nee Speicher) since 1954. They have five children: Lee, Wendy, Robin, Michele, and Jay.[40]

Recent news

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External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bioguide "Chuck Grassley" Accessed June 21, 2013
  2. Des Moines Register, "Iowa’s Chuck Grassley: I am running for re-election (updated)," accessed September 20, 2013
  3. Biographical Guide to Members of Congress "Chuck Grassley," Accessed October 13, 2011
  4. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress "Charles Ernest Grassley," Accessed October 18, 2011
  5. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
  6. Official Senate website "Committee Assignments," Accessed October 13, 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Politico, "Chuck Grassley puts hold on DHS nominee," accessed November 21, 2013
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  9. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  10. QC Times, "Iowa congressional delegation withholding support for attack on Syria," accessed September 4, 2013
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Project Votesmart, "Chuck Grassley Key Votes," accessed October 16, 2013
  12. CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
  13. USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
  14. ABC News, "Rand Paul wins applause from GOP and liberals," March 7, 2013
  15. Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet the GOP senators who refused to stand with Rand," March 7, 2013
  16. Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
  17. Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
  18. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  19., "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  20. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Real Clear Politics, "Senator Charles Grassley," accessed August 13, 2013
  22. "Senate Judiciary Committee" List of past members(See 97th to 109th Congresses of the US)
  23. "Senate Judiciary Committee" List of Subcommittees
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 "Washington Post" Transcript of Senator Grassley's Questioning of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, July 14, 2009
  25. Des Moines Register, "Iowa’s Chuck Grassley: I am running for re-election (updated)," accessed September 20, 2013
  26. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998," accessed March 28, 2013
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1992," accessed March 28, 2013
  28. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1986," accessed March 28, 2013
  29. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1980," accessed March 28, 2013
  30. Open Secrets "Chuck Grassley" Accessed April 3, 2013
  31. Gov Track "Chuck Grassley," Accessed June 21, 2013
  32. OpenCongress, "Rep. Chuck Grassley," Accessed August 2, 2013
  33. GovTrack, "Chuck Grassley," Accessed March 29, 2013
  34. LegiStorm "Chuck Grassley"
  35., "Grassley, (R-Iowa), 2011"
  36., "Grassley, (R-IA), 2010"
  37. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  38. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
  39. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  40. Official Senate website "At A Glance," Accessed October 13, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
John Culver
U.S. Senate - Iowa
Succeeded by