Despite the Democratic-controlled House being “laser-focused on the divisive impeachment process,” Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa believes members of Congress can continue to work in a bipartisan way on legislative proposals.
Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Wednesday during his weekly conference call with reporters that he will be working on a variety of year-end legislation with Democratic senators over the weekend.
He also was on the phone with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was in Belgium for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, to discuss an extension of the biodiesel tax credit, which Grassley said helps support 600,000 jobs across country, including thousands in Iowa.
Grassley also reported progress on bipartisan legislation to lower drug prices, make it easier to save for retirement and give victims of terrorism recourse in American courts.
“It shows two things: One, we can continue to work in a bipartisan way and, secondly, we can get things done and we can compartmentalize,” the Iowa Republican said.
So, despite the House vote to impeach President Donald Trump, “some of us have still been able to get our work done for Iowans.”
The impeachment process will shift to the Senate in January when senators sit in judgment on the charges against the president.
For the time being, Grassley plans to take the same approach as his did in 1999 when President Bill Clinton was impeached.
“I’m just going to keep my mouth shut,” he said then.
In the case of Trump, “I’m going to listen to the facts of the case and then say ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ based upon what’s presented by the House of Representatives and the defense of the president,” Grassley said.
Although he sees himself as an impartial juror, Grassley doesn’t think the impeachment process, which he considers more judicial than political, will be an impartial.
“It’s kind of a hybrid, to be perfectly honest with you,” he said.
There may be some legitimacy to the criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he will coordinate the impeachment trial with the White House, Grassley said, but that can be applied to both parties.
“This has been pretty much a political maneuver on the House, ... so I think that the environment here is a little bit different,” Grassley said. “That gives some justification to what McConnell is saying, even though I don’t see my role the same as he sees his role.”
If McConnell can be criticized for a lack of impartiality, the same can be said about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the five Democratic senators running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Grassley said.
Through their comments and actions, “they’ve kind of showed that they’re not impartial jurors,” he said.
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