Grassley says Obama needs to show leadership on budget issues

Iowa senator also calls for Reid to let Senate return to committee process

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Sen. Chuck Grassley on Wednesday called for a return to the “regular order” and strong presidential leadership to deal with the federal government’s spending problem in the wake of a deal to avert going over the so-called fiscal cliff.

It’s time for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to let the chamber’s committee process work, Grassley said.

“The kind of work that develops the best possible legislation,” he said.

Grassley, who supported components of the fiscal cliff deal, voted against the package because it did nothing to address federal spending, he explained in a conference call with Iowa reporters.

Although it included a one-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit he has long championed, Grassley said it was just one paragraph in a 150-page bill.

The extension is an improvement over the previous production tax credit, he added. Producers will qualify for the credit as long as they start construction on wind energy production facilities before the end of the year even if the credit is not extended again.

Wind and biofuels producers -- who won a two-year extension, need production credits extended even longer, “but you get done around here what you can get done,” Grassley said.

Also included in the package was an extension of the Farm Bill, including dairy programs, until Oct. 1. Grassley expects the Senate to approve the same five-year Farm Bill it sent to the House in June. The House has indicated it will take up Farm Bill legislation in late February.

While Congress has averted the fiscal cliff for now, Grassley said strong presidential leadership will be needed to address tax and spending issues.

“He needs to step up and be actively involved,” Grassley said of President Obama, “instead of being so stand-offish as he has been in the last two months on this whole debate about the fiscal cliff.”

Congress is not inclined to take action if the president unlikely to sign the legislation, he said.

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