Senator Charles 'Chuck' E. Grassley's Political Positions

Office: U.S. Senate (IA) - Sr, Republican
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Chuck Grassley refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

This candidate has demonstrated 0% courage during the test.

*Note: This percentage is calculated based on the number of issue areas addressed by the candidate on the Political Courage Test at the conclusion of the testing period. It does not indicate support or lack of support by Project Vote Smart.

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Project Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Vote Smart's Research

  • NARAL Pro-Choice America. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of NARAL Pro-Choice America 0 percent in 2009. (
  • National Right to Life Committee. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 100 percent in 2009. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 1998. Project Vote Smart: Iowa Congressional National Political Awareness Test. Checked SUPPORT for: "c) Abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered;" "g) Prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as "partial-birth" abortion."
  • Planned Parenthood. 2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of Planned Parenthood 0 percent in 2008. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S 3. 108th Congress. A bill to prohibit the procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted YES on 21 October 2003. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 2321 to S 1692. 106th Congress. To express the sense of Congress in support of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO on 21 October 1999. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 3330 to S Amdt 3325 to HR 3043. 110th Congress. To prohibit the provision of funds to grantees who perform abortions. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted YES on 18 October 2007. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 3896 to S Amdt 3899 to S 1200. 110th Congress. To modify a section relating to limitation on use of funds appropriated to the Service. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted YES on 26 February 2008. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "I support policies that protect unborn life at all stages. My voting record is 100 percent pro-life. I believe health care professionals should not be forced to provide a service they object to on moral or religious grounds. I support the right of parents to be active participants in decisions affecting the medical care of their children and, for that reason, support legislation making it illegal to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion to circumvent state requirements to have parents involved in such decisions. I've always supported the Hyde amendment to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions." to the question: "Do you favor any changes in federal abortion laws?" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • National Taxpayers Union. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of the National Taxpayers Union 88 percent in 2009. (
  • Chuck Grassley. Death Tax Repeal Killed. 13 June 2006. "Those in favor of resurrecting the federal death tax got their wish when the U.S. Senate failed in June to reach the necessary 60 votes. That was the number of votes necessary to move forward with Republican-led efforts to permanently repeal the federal death tax on the estates of deceased entrepreneurs who toiled a lifetime to build a prosperous family business." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005--Motion to Proceed. 7 June 2006. "So I believe that death should not be a taxable event. Since I have been in the U.S. Senate, I have been working on reform of the estate tax. Taxing people's assets upon their death is just plain wrong--not wrong to the heirs as much as it is wrong to think that you are going to get more money into the Federal Treasury that way than if you let the marketplace work and determine the true value of something with a willing buyer and a willing seller." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Grassley: Estate Tax is Unfair, Should be Repealed. 14 November 2007. "I believe that the estate tax, or death tax, is unjust from a philosophical and from a technical viewpoint. From a philosophical perspective, I have always said that death should not be a taxable event. There is something fundamentally wrong when the government swoops in after a funeral to take a cut of what that person had worked their whole life for, and has already paid taxes on at least once. Any monetary benefit obtained by any individual is either taxed or not taxed for a very specific reason. As long as a person has accumulated an estate in accordance with the law, the government should not be able to profit from that person's death." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Taxes And Health Reform. 15 July 2009. "Newly developed data from the Joint Committee on Taxation demonstrates that 55 percent of the tax from the higher rates will be borne by small business owners with incomes over $250,000. This is a conservative number because it doesn't include flow through business owners making between $200,000 and $250,000 that will also be hit by the Democratic budget's proposed tax hikes. If the proponents of the marginal rate increase on small business owners agree that a 23-percent to 33-percent tax increase for half the small businesses that employ two-thirds of all small business workers is not wise, then they should either oppose these tax increases or present data that show a different result. I wish to fight for lower State tax rates and higher estate tax exemption amounts to protect successful small businesses so people who work a lifetime can pass on without liquidation at the time of death." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Chuck Grassley. HR 1. 111th Congress. Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO on 13 February 2009. (
  • 2010. The Messenger: Charles Grassley is a keeper. 17 October 2010. "Grassley also champions a free enterprise-based economic strategy that would restore prosperity. His efforts to make the marketplace more hospitable to small businesses are but one example of the senator's strong commitment the role of the private sector as the generator of job growth." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Issue Position: Working to Grow the Economy. "When the federal government started doling out checks in an unwise, massive government spending spree, Chuck Grassley raised a red flag. He began asking questions as to why less than one half of one percent of the tax relief in the stimulus bill was designated to spur investment in small businesses. Grassley understands that small businesses are the job creating engines of the economy, creating 70 percent of the new jobs in the United States. In order to correct this malfeasance, Grassley is working on legislation that would create an environment that makes it more profitable for small business owners to take the money they've earned, invest it back into their business, and hire more people." (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "According to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill is now estimated to cost $814 billion. I did not support this bill because it was loaded with special interest provisions and other economically questionable spending programs. The CBO concluded it would cost as much as $250,000 for each temporary job the legislation might create and, over the next several years, the net impact on our economy would be zero, at best. Under the worst case scenario, the result will be lower wages and lower productivity as government deficits crowd out private sector investment." to the question: "Do you think passage of the February 2009 stimulus legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was a good or bad idea?" (
  • Chuck Grassley. Grassley Statement About Senate Vote On Economic Stimulus Legislation. 9 February 2009. "Thousands of Iowans have called me to voice their opposition to this legislation. They don't have confidence that the bill will get the economy back on track. Their cynicism is fueled by the package's massive government spending and long-term entitlement commitments that will leave the next generation with trillion dollar deficits. The bill is a big missed opportunity, especially with the strength of a new president who campaigned to change the ways of Washington, and the urgent need to help create and sustain jobs. The way this bill was managed with a heavy partisan hand by congressional leaders kept it from being an effective economic stimulus package." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Grassley Votes To Not Release Remaining Bailout Funds. 15 January 2009. "Many Senators, including this one, reluctantly supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program last year because we were told by the so-called experts that our financial markets were on the verge of collapse. We were told that we had to deal with the toxic mortgages that were clogging up our financial markets by having the government purchase them at an auction and hold them until the markets stabilized. The theory was to get these troubled assets off the banks' balance sheets and provide them with additional funds to lend to credit worthy borrowers. I had serious doubts about the original plan, but it has never been implemented. Instead, the money has been used to invest directly in select financial institutions. Essentially, it has become a slush fund for the Secretary of Treasury to engage in an erratic industrial policy of picking winner and losers among any company directly, or indirectly, connected to our financial markets." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Senator Grassley's Statement About His Vote Against Final Passage Of The Economic Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009. 13 February 2009. "The country urgently needs Congress to eliminate the tax and regulatory barriers that get in the way of creating sustainable jobs, and to help get our economy back on track. That great need makes this bill a terrible missed opportunity. The whole thing got off on the wrong foot. Instead of charting the kind of new way promised by the new President, House leaders started the legislative process with a partisan bill that they loaded down with spending to feed special interests rather than stimulate the economy. Changes made at the very end of the process, in order to peel off the three votes needed to get the bill through the Senate, weren't enough to change the fundamental flaws." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Chuck Grassley. Issue Position: Strengthening Retirement Security. "As Iowans look toward retirement, they want to know that they have the resources available for many years to come to live a lifestyle similar to the one they've grown accustomed to. Chuck Grassley knows that all too often Americans realize too late that their nest egg is smaller than it should be. He understands that the long-term fiscal difficulties of Social Security and Medicare both must be addressed to ensure not only the financial health of individuals, but also the financial health of the country. He's working to ensure that pension systems are better protected so people don't face similar circumstances as many Americans did with the fall of Enron. Grassley is also continuing his efforts to improve enforcement of nursing home standards for the elderly, provide resources to family caregivers, and root out waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare spending. And as the practice of medicine changed, it was Chuck Grassley who led the effort to create a prescription drug program for Medicare beneficiaries who were struggling to pay their prescription drug bills." (
  • Chuck Grassley. CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight - Transcript. 9 February 2005. "Social Security won't be an issue unless the president becomes Professor Bush and has a seminar with the American people. And at the Grass Roots convince people that there needs to be changes made in Social Security so our grandchildren and children can have the same programs that we have. And unless we make changes, they won't have. Unless the president gets that job done, it won't really be an issue here in Congress. Now I want the president to make that jump. And I want to be able to help him get the reforms that he's proposing. Or even if he doesn't propose them, reforms that we know need to be done so that our children and grandchildren can have Social Security." (
  • Chuck Grassley. CNN Paula Zahn Now - Transcript. 28 April 2005. "BLITZER: As we look at the live pictures, Senator Grassley, from the East Room of the White House, the news conference will be beginning shortly. Can the president realistically-politically-abandon his plan for partial privatization, as it is called? GRASSLEY: I don't think he has to at this point, at least. It's up to Congress to decide what we're going to pass, anyway. Don't put too much attention on the president. We all know that there needs to be a problem-there was just talk by Senator Durbin about benefit cuts leaving the impression that the only way you'd have benefit cuts is by personal accounts. There's going to be benefit cuts anyway, because we have over promised, by 10 to $12 trillion, what we can deliver for our children and grandchildren. Doing nothing is not an option because my grandchildren will get 70 percent of benefits, if we don't do something, because the cash flow at that date will only deliver 70 percent of benefits." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Chuck Grassley. 1998. Project Vote Smart: Iowa Congressional National Political Awareness Test. Checked SUPPORT for: "a) Broaden use of the death penalty for federal crimes."
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 1204 to S 1607. 103rd Congress. To provide for imposition of the penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of release rather than imposition of the death penalty. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO on 17 November 1993. (
  • Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants. 2005-2006. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of the Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants 30 percent in 2005-2006. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "I would prefer to live in a society where the death penalty is not necessary. I support the federal death penalty becuase capital punishment is a deterrent against violent crime. Efforts have been made and should continue to enhance its deterrent value by making the death penalty a true punishment and not just a life sentence on death row with endless appeals by technicality." to the question: "Do you favor continuing to allow the death penalty for some federal crimes?" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Home School Legal Defense Association. 1999-2000. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of the Home School Legal Defense Association 80 percent in 1999-2000. (
  • Chuck Grassley. HR 1. 107th Congress. To close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted YES on 18 December 2001. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "State-by-state results already can be compared on a uniform basis using the National Assessment of Education Programs, or NAEP, which all states are required to administer. National standards would go beyond that to actually dictate what is taught. Also, since national standards are necessarily a compromise between traditionally high-performing states and traditionally low-performing states, it's hard to believe that national standards are or would remain rigorous. I'm skeptical of any effort that would move key decisions about what is taught in classrooms further away from parents." to the question: "Should the federal government establish rigorous national standards and matching exams at various grade levels, so state-by-state results can be compared?" (
  • Chuck Grassley. Letter to Secretary of Education Rod Paige. 30 May 2003. "We are writing to express our interest in the swift approval of the Iowa Plan for implementing the assessment and accountability provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act. As Iowa school districts plan for next year, it is important that they know what will be expected of them. We have appreciated the willingness of your office to work with us and with officials at the Iowa Department of Education to resolve many of the complex issues surrounding the Iowa Plan. In particular, after numerous contacts by our offices to your staff about the need to tailor the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act to fit Iowa, we are pleased that an agreement now appears to have been reached to meet the goals of No Child Left Behind while accommodating Iowa's system of local content standards and the use of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. This is a very important issue for Iowans as we are rightly proud of our tradition of educational excellence and commitment to continual improvement. Iowans want to build on our past success, not "reinvent the wheel" and we know this is a sentiment you share." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Environment America. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of Environment America 0 percent in 2009. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 4825 to S 3036. 110th Congress. In the nature of a substitute. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO for cloture on 6 June 2008. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "If the U.S. acts alone to cap carbon dioxide, Americans would pay more for energy and goods without any measurable impact on the climate. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified that unilateral action by the U.S. would provide no real environmental gain. A carbon cap that doesn't include the largest emitter, China, and other developing nations, would mean lost jobs for Americans. Any effort to reduce greenhouse gases should be made through an international agreement. The cap-and-trade legislation passed last year by the House of Representatives would increase the cost of energy for homes and businesses, especially in the Midwest." to the question: "Do you believe man-made climate change is real and should be addressed?" (
  • Chuck Grassley. Transcription of Senator Grassley's Capitol Hill Report. 9 July 2009. "I think that there's disputes among scientists and I haven't drawn a scientific conclusion on that point. But there's not a consensus among scientists on it. And there is a consensus of global warming." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Chuck Grassley. 1998. Project Vote Smart: Iowa Congressional National Political Awareness Test. Gun Issues: Other or expanded principles: "I strongly support the Second Amendment and will not vote for initiatives restricting law-abiding citizens from owning or using guns."
  • Gun Owners of America. 2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. In 2010 Gun Owners of America gave Charles Grassley a grade of B. (
  • Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 2003. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Charles Grassley supported the interests of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence 9 percent from 1988 and 2003. (
  • Chuck Grassley. HR 1025. 103rd Congress. To provide for a waiting period before the purchase of a handgun, and for the establishment of a national instant criminal background check system to be contacted by firearms dealers before the transfer of any firearm. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO on 20 November 1993. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 1067 to S Amdt 1058 to HR 627. 111th Congress. To protect innocent Americans from violent crime in national parks and refuges. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted YES on 12 May 2009. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 1152 to S Amdt 1151 to S 1607. 103rd Congress. To restrict the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO on 17 November 1993. (
  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 362 to S 254. 106th Congress. To regulate the sale of firearms at guns shows. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO on 20 May 1999. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "I have voted repeatedly to safeguard the rights provided by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Unlike European governments, the U.S. was founded with the guarantee that people be allowed to keep and bear arms. Overly restrictive gun control legislation has proven to do little to deter criminals. Instead, it does a great deal to limit the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves. Crime reduction efforts must focus on criminals and their activities, not gun control. Those who use a firearm to commit a crime should serve the maximum sentence so that they no longer pose a threat to society." to the question: "Do you favor any changes in federal gun laws?" (

Vote Smart's Research

  • American Public Health Association. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Charles Grassley supported the interests of the American Public Health Association 14 percent in 2009. (
  • 2009. The Iowa Independent. Grassley specifies objections to public health care option. 5 June 2009. "U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has emerged as the key Republican in the senate on health care reform because of his position as Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, published an op-ed today that enumerates his objections to including a government-run insurance option in broader health care reform efforts. But nestled in the brief column are two glaring contradictions. Of the "pitfalls" of a public health insurance option, Grassley writes: 'A government-run option would have bureaucrats in Washington setting prices and determining which treatments are covered. It would cause 119 million Americans to shift from private coverage to the government plan, according to experts, and put America on the path toward an entirely government-run health care system. Doctors and hospitals already are paid less by Medicare and Medicaid, and they make up the difference by passing the cost onto their other patients.' 'If more people entered government plans, even more doctors would stop seeing Medicare, Medicaid and public plan patients. Employers would stop offering coverage because they could tell employees to get coverage from the government. Eventually, the government plan would overtake the market, and we'd have a Canadian-style system but without the ability that Canadians have to go to the United States for innovative treatments for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.'" (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "While America's health care system offers the best medical care in the world, health care costs too much, millions cannot find affordable care or coverage, and others are denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. That's why I worked hard to find common ground on health care last year. Unfortunately, the partisan bills that became law jeopardize access to health care for seniors by cutting $529 billion from Medicare, raise taxes by half a trillion dollars, set up new, unsustainable entitlement programs, and don't do nearly enough to contain rising health care costs." to the question: "Do you think passage of the new federal health care bill was a good or bad idea?" (
  • Chuck Grassley. Issue Position: Improving Health Care for All Americans. "Chuck Grassley recognizes that the delivery of health care services in Rural America differs from the urban centers scattered across the nation. As a long-time advocate to fix Medicare's flawed reimbursement rate, Grassley is working to create payment incentives that reward the quality of services, versus quantity. Grassley's efforts would help states like Iowa to recruit physicians and expand access to quality care for Iowans. And, when the health care debate transfixed a nation for the better part of a year, it was Chuck Grassley working tirelessly to instill Iowa common sense solutions in a process mired by partisanship. The Wall Street Journal noticed Grassley's efforts to restrict deficit spending and Kim Strassel made note in her July 17, 2009 column during the bipartisan negotiations. The new health care reform law is the only major social reform policy that has passed without bipartisan support of the U.S. Congress. In the end, the law cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars, raised taxes by half a trillion dollars, and did nothing to cut premiums for hard working Americans. Once fully implemented, the law is expected to cost more than $2.5 trillion." (
  • Strassel, Kimberly. The Wall Street Journal: The Grassley Test. 17 July 2009. "Mr. Grassley took President Obama at his word that the goal of this exercise was to lower costs and insure more Americans. But from the start he rejected the idea that this could be accomplished by government squeezing out the private market. At a White House health-care event in March, the Republican publicly warned that a government-run health insurance program -- the public option -- was an "unfair competitor" and a no-go." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Chuck Grassley. S Amdt 4087 to S 2611. 109th Congress. To modify the conditions under which aliens who are unlawfully present in the United States are granted legal status. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted NO on 23 May 2006. (
  • Federation for American Immigration Reform. 2007-2008. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of the Federation for American Immigration Reform 75 percent in 2007-2008. (
  • National Latino Congreso. 2007-2010. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of the National Latino Congreso 0 percent in 2007-2010. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "I supported President Reagan's amnesty for nearly 3 million undocumented immigrants in 1986. That was supposed to solve the problem. Today, there are 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The lesson is that rewarding illegality leads to more of it, so I don't support another amnesty program regardless of how it has been renamed, as a path to citizenship or earned legalization." to the question: "Do you favor creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have committed no crimes other than immigration violations, if they pay a penalty and learn English?" (
  • Chuck Grassley. Issue Position: Securing Our Borders and Improving Immigration. "Grassley recognizes that before the U.S. immigration system is improved, the security of the borders must first be addressed. He understands the long waiting times that immigrants have endure to legally enter the United States, and is against allowing those who have already broken U.S. laws to jump in front of the line for citizenship. With near record of unemployment, it's most important the focus remain on creating new jobs, not policies that jeopardize employment opportunities for Americans. He knows that the United States must increase and improve legal avenues to enter the United States, and at the same time the country must do a better job of working to eliminate the fraud and abuse that is all too prevalent throughout the immigration system." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007--Continued. 27 June 2007. "There is some concern that I have expressed--not so much on the floor but in other public comments I made--that I am one of about 22 or 23 Members of the Senate who were here in 1986 when we passed amnesty, as is in this bill as well. I was one of those Senators who voted for amnesty at that particular time. At that particular time, we had maybe 1 million to 3 million people cross the border illegally and who were here illegally. We all thought--and there have been plenty of references to statements made in the Congressional Record 20 years ago--that if we were to adopt amnesty, it would settle this problem once and for all, do it once and for all. You know, I believed that. But do you know what I found out maybe 5 or 10 years ago? When you reward illegality, you get more of it. Now the guesstimate is that we have 12 million people here illegally. They are not illegal people, but they came here illegally. I think I have an obligation to consider the votes I made before and, if they are wrong, not make that mistake again. You know, it is a little like the chaos you would have if you didn't respect and enforce red lights and stop signs. You would have chaos at intersections and accidents. Wherever you don't enforce the rule of law, those are the things that happen. You need social cohesion, and social cohesion comes from respect for the rule of law in our country. So it seems to me that, as we go down this road, what we ought to do is concentrate on legal immigration, the reforms we are bringing to the H-1B program, the reforms we are bringing in the way of a temporary worker program. People would rather come here legally rather than illegally, I believe. I know it is not very satisfying to people to hear that we have 12 million people in the underground. The point is that if people could come here legally to work, they would soon, one by one, by attrition, replace people who are here illegally, I believe. I am not one who wants to make that mistake again. That is why I am weighing very heavily the issue of what we do with amnesty or what other people who don't like the word "amnesty'' would say is earned citizenship, guest worker program, those sorts of things that are covering up really what we are doing. I say if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If it looks like amnesty, it is amnesty. That is the bottom line. We ought to learn the lesson that in 1986 it didn't work. I don't think it will work now. I am 73 years old, so obviously I am not going to be here 20 years from now when we have another immigration bill. But I should not make that problem so that a successor of mine has to deal with 25 million people being here illegally as opposed to the 12 million now or the 1 to 3 million before." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Grassley Outlines How Amnesty Really Works in Immigration Reform Bill. 22 May 2007. "I voted for amnesty more than 20 years ago. I believed at the time that by giving illegal aliens blanket citizenship, we would solve the problem. I was wrong. We've now got at least 12 million people illegal aliens thumbing their nose at our laws, Grassley said. We found out that by rewarding illegality, we only get more illegality." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Issue Position: Immigration. "Grassley first and foremost is opposed to amnesty. He believes if Congress insists on a legalization program, it's important these individuals truly do "earn" any potential adjustment to legal status. This includes assimilation efforts such as learning English or paying back taxes." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Peace Action West. 2009. Project Vote Smart: Interest Group Ratings. Chuck Grassley supported the interests of Peace Action West 10 percent in 2009. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "I support the objectives of denying safe haven to al-Qaeda, reversing the Taliban's momentum, and strengthening the Afghan government and security forces to prevent a 9-11 type attack from being carried out from Afghanistan. I hope the President's decision to send another 30,000 combat troops to Afghanistan provides military commanders the resources needed for success. In Iraq, the counterinsurgency strategy implemented in 2007 made possible the recent withdrawal of combat troops. U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq need to come home as quickly as possible but in a responsible way that gives American troops every opportunity to succeed." to the question: "Do you agree with current U.S. policy regarding military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan?" (
  • Chuck Grassley. Transcription of Senator Grassley's News Conference Call with Iowa Reporters. 28 October 2009. "QUESTION: Thank you, Senator. What do you think the president should do about the situation in Afghanistan? GRASSLEY: Well, I think I said over the last month that the president came up with a plan that was announced in March, so I assume it's still his plan. And I don't think he'd change plans now. He appointed General McChrystal to get the job done. General McChrystal needs more troops. We've lost eight people over there in one day, 14 in another day. I think we're losing troops because they aren't adequately fortified and backed up. And so I think if -- you ought to have confidence in the general you put in the place. The president's our commander in chief, but they aren't on the ground every day. And presidents announce plans, and that's what this one did. He's sticking to his plan. He needs to deliver what's needed to get the job done. And then also that -- that plan that General McChrystal puts together follows on the same sort of plan that was used in Iraq, and it worked in Iraq. And presumably it's going to work in -- in Afghanistan. And when there's been any dispute about whether or not additional troops ought to be added, nobody ever talked down either the president's plan that was announced in March or what General McChrystal has said. I think there's been great deal of deference. So if there are people opposed to more troops being in there, I think that they probably are the ones that would say that we shouldn't be there in the first place." (

Vote Smart's Research

  • Chuck Grassley. HR 3396. 103rd Congress. To define and protect the institution of marriage. Project Vote Smart Summary: Chuck Grassley voted YES on 10 September 1996. (
  • Chuck Grassley. 2010. Des Moines Register: Candidates for Senate. Responded: "I support traditional marriage. I voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton. It defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and prevents states from being forced to honor the decisions of other state courts. I also voted twice in 2006, both in the Judiciary Committee and in the Senate, for a joint resolution that would have amended the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The definition of marriage should be determined by elected legislators, not judges." to the question: "Do you believe in equal marriage rights for same-sex couples?" (
  • Chuck Grassley. Marriage Protection Amendment. 15 June 2006. "Mr. President, I strongly support traditional marriage, the bedrock of our society, and I therefore support the Marriage Protection Amendment. Like some of my colleagues, I believe that marriage is typically a State issue. Unelected, lifetime-appointed judges, however, have forced our hand on this issue. We can no longer sit idly by while a handful of activist judges lay the groundwork to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and redefine marriage for the entire Nation. I voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act a decade ago, which reinforced States rights on this issue. Since then, 26 States have passed statutes designed to protect traditional marriage by defining marriage only as the union of a man and a woman. Further, 19 States now have constitutional amendments that contain this same definition. Voters in seven additional States will vote on constitutional amendments this year. Another four State legislature--including that of my own State, Iowa--are considering sending constitutional amendments to voters within the next 2 years. Ballot initiatives are currently underway in three States. Only a handful of States have redefined marriage to include same-sex partnerships, created a version of civil unions, or lack actual or planned protection for traditional marriage. The states have spoken. A great majority of them have decided that marriage, in their States, shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. But, it has become a common prediction that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act will be overturned by the judiciary. In that case, the full faith and credit clause of our Constitution would require every State to recognize so-called marriages performed in States that allow the union of same-sex couples, many only by judicial decree. We cannot allow unelected judges to force their will upon the people, who have acted through the democratic process to defend traditional marriage. Under our Constitution, Congress has the responsibility to enact legislation. Congress also has the responsibility to initiate the constitutional amendment process. We must fulfill this duty to protect traditional marriage. We must provide the States the opportunity to defend marriage as they have defined it." (
  • Chuck Grassley. Transcription of Senator Grassley's Capitol Hill Report. 30 April 2009. "Well, my thoughts can best be expressed by votes that I've cast here in Congress. Now, this would be at the federal level, not at the state level, but 10 years ago, President Clinton signed a bill called Defense of Marriage Act and I voted for it. And then about two years ago, there was an attempt to amend the federal Constitution for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. I voted for that, but it did not get the votes that are necessary to get out to the states for being a part of the federal Constitution. So I'm pretty much on record as, obviously, disagreeing with the Iowa Supreme Court decision even though what I voted on isn't exactly their decision, but their decision would, in effect, be opposite of the Defense of Marriage Act here at the federal level." (


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Congressional Election 1998 National Political Awareness Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning abortion.

a) Abortions should always be legally available.
b) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Xc) Abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered.
d) Abortions should be legal only when the life of the woman is endangered.
e) Abortions should always be illegal.
Xf) Abortions should be limited by waiting periods and notification requirements as decided by each state government.
Xg) Prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as "partial-birth" abortion.
Xh) Prohibit public funding of abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
i) Other

1) Indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following categories. Select one number (level) only.

Maintain Statusa) AIDS programs
Slightly Decreaseb) Arts funding
Slightly Increasec) Education (K-12)
Maintain Statusd) Environmental programs
Slightly Decreasee) Foreign aid
Slightly Increasef) Housing projects
Slightly Increaseg) Job training programs
Slightly Increaseh) Law enforcement
Maintain Statusi) Medicaid
Maintain Statusj) Medicare
Maintain Statusk) NASA
Maintain Statusl) Student loan programs
Maintain Statusm) Welfare
n) Other

I evaluate each program annually based on need and merit. For example, I support greatly increasing NIH funding, which could include AIDS research program.

o) Other
p) Other

2) Indicate what levels of federal funding you support for the following defense-related categories. Select one number (level) only.

Maintain Statusa) Armed Forces personnel training
Maintain Statusb) CIA appropriations
Maintain Statusc) Defense plant conversion
Slightly Decreased) Development of new weapons
Slightly Decreasee) Military hardware
Maintain Statusf) Military space shuttle missions
Maintain Statusg) National Missile Defense Program
Maintain Statush) Pay for active duty personnel
i) Other
3) Do you support amending the U.S. Constitution to require an annual balanced federal budget?

4) Indicate how you would apply the expected federal budget surplus.

Xa) Social Security
b) Medicare
c) Tax cuts
d) Federal debt reduction
e) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance reform.

a) Remove all legislative limits on campaign financing.
b) Establish spending limits on congressional campaigns.
c) Provide public funding for federal candidates who comply with campaign spending limits.
d) Support legislation that would increase the federal limits on individual contributions.
Xe) Strengthen and enforce legislation that encourages full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information.
f) Prohibit Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to candidates for federal office.
g) Provide free or low-cost television advertising to candidates who agree to voluntary campaign spending limits.
h) Ban the unregulated campaign contributions known as soft money.
i) Pass legislation banning issue advocacy commercials by outside groups within 60 days of an election.
j) Prohibit non-U.S. citizens from making contributions to federal campaigns.
Xk) Other

Campaign finance reform is an important priority. Let there be no mistake: I support reform of the campaign finance sustem. Rather than respond with my views on each of the several pieces within the pending lefislation, I would like to state my reform philosophy.
My goals for campaign finance reform include: improved citizen participation, enhanced public discourse, full public disclosure and safeguarding the right of Americans to organize and peririon their government.
To accomplish these objectives, I want reform to give individuals a bigger role in the political process, increase up-front participation of political parties, protect union members from being forced to bankroll candidates they oppose, discourage misconduct by political campaigns with swift and sure punishment, and require full public sidclosure of all contribution sources. Let the sun shine in on contributors. THe publis and the process will benefit.
I would like to see a campaign finance system that encourages this kind of grassroots support. Small dollat, individual donors should be the predominate force throughout America's campaign finance system. This would give individuals more of a stake in the integrity of the process.
Overall, to get campaign finance reform passed, we need to see broad support from each political party. That is the only way to achieve credible regorm. It is the only way to ensure reform does not simply protect incumbents. Simply put, broad bipartisan support equals credible reform.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) to address crime.

Xa) Broaden use of the death penalty for federal crimes.
Xb) Increase spending to build more federal prisons.
Xc) Impose "truth in sentencing" for violent criminals so they serve full sentences with no chance of parole.
d) Fund programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
e) Expand funding for community policing programs.
f) Increase penalties for the possession of any illegal firearms.
Xg) Prosecute youths accused of a felony as adults.
h) Increase funding for local Boys & Girls Clubs and other independent organizations in communities with at-risk youth.
i) Reduce prison sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes.
j) Deport all permanent resident aliens convicted of a felony.
k) Other

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning illegal drugs.

Xa) Increase penalties for selling illegal drugs.
Xb) Impose mandatory jail sentences for selling illegal drugs.
Xc) Impose capital punishment for convicted international drug traffickers.
Xd) Strengthen current laws dealing with non-controlled substances, including inhalants and commercially available pills.
Xe) Increase funding of federally-sponsored drug education and drug treatment programs.
f) Decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Xg) Increase funding for border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
h) Other

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the economy and employment.

Xa) Provide tax credits for companies that move job-creating industries into areas with high unemployment.
Xb) Increase funding for national job-training programs that re-train displaced workers or teach skills needed in today's job market.
Xc) Reduce government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
d) Establish empowerment zones in areas with large numbers of unemployed people.
e) Eliminate any federal programs designed to reduce unemployment.
f) Increase the minimum wage.
Xg) Pass legislation that encourages employers to offer their employees the options of flex-time scheduling, comp-time and unpaid leave to attend to their family responsibilities.
h) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide on-site child care.

2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding affirmative action and discrimination.

a) The federal government should consider race and sex in making government contracting decisions.
b) The federal government should continue affirmative action programs only if such programs do not include quotas.
c) The federal government should discontinue affirmative action programs.
Xd) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the public sector.
Xe) The federal government should prosecute cases of discrimination in the private sector.
f) The federal government should include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws.
Xg) Other

The federal government should consider disadvantaged backgrounds.

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning education.

a) Support national standards and testing in reading and math.
b) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any publicly funded school.
Xc) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
d) Allow parents to use tax-free savings accounts to send their children to any publicly funded school.
Xe) Allow parents to use tax-free savings accounts to send their children to any participating school: public, private or religious.
f) Support creation of more charter schools where teachers and professionals receive authorization and funding to establish new schools.
Xg) Give all federal education funding to states in the form of block grants and allow them to spend it as they see fit.
h) Support voluntary teacher testing and reward teachers with merit pay.
i) Increase funding for block grants to states to help them hire additional teachers.
j) Other
Yes2) Do you support amending the U.S. Constitution to guarantee the right to religious expression and voluntary prayer in public places, including schools?

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding America's environment and natural resources.

Xa) Require the state to fully compensate citizens when environmental regulations limit uses on privately owned land.
b) Strengthen the Clean Water Act.
c) Change the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to limit the number of habitats eligible to be designated as endangered.
Xd) Increase fees charged to ranchers who graze cattle on federal lands.
e) Revise the 1872 mining law to increase the fees charged to mining companies using federal lands.
Xf) Encourage development of alternative fuels to reduce pollution.
g) Strengthen emission controls on all gasoline or diesel powered engines, including cars and trucks.
h) Increase federal taxes on gasoline and diesel fuels to promote conservation and alternative fuel development.
i) Promote the selling of pollution credits between nations to encourage industries to decrease pollution levels.
j) Impose stricter national air quality standards.
k) Adhere to the United Nations treaty regarding global climate change.
l) Strengthen the restrictions on clear-cutting on federal lands.
m) Other

Indicate which level of government that should have primary responsibility for the following services. Select one level only.

Federala) Border security
Federalb) Civil rights enforcement
Localc) Education
Federald) Environmental cleanup
Locale) Job training
Statef) Law enforcement
Localg) Low-income housing
Stateh) Medicaid
Statei) Medicare
Federalj) Transportation infrastructure (highways, roads, bridges)
Statek) Welfare
l) Other

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Bosnia/former Yugoslavia.

Xa) The U.S. should lift the arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina.
b) The U.S. should maintain a military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina with a certain deadline for withdrawal.
c) The U.S. should maintain a military presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina without a certain deadline for withdrawal.
Xd) Other

I support our tropps and a certain deadline for withdrawal.

2) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the Middle East.

a) The U.S. should resolve future disputes with Iraq through diplomatic means.
b) The U.S. should take unilateral military action if Iraq does not comply with all accepted UN resolutions.
c) The U.S. should take military action against Iraq only as part of an international effort.
d) The U.S. should not continue to play a prominent leadership role in the peace process between Israel and Palestine.
Xe) Other

I support diplomatic methods and would support military action oly when necessary.

3) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the United States-United Nations relationship.

a) The U.S. should contribute more funding and troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
b) The U.S. should contribute less funding and troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions.
c) The U.S. should participate in UN peacekeeping missions only when vital U.S. interests are involved.
d) The U.S. should not commit military troops to UN peacekeeping missions.
e) The U.S. should withdraw from the UN completely.
f) The U.S. should pay its debt to the United Nations.
g) Other
4) Should the U.S. have diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba?
5) Should the U.S. recognize and extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan?

Indicate which principles you support (if any) concerning gun issues.

a) Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons.
b) Increase federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
c) Maintain federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
d) Ease federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms.
e) Repeal federal restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms by law-abiding citizens.
Xf) Favor allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms.
g) Require manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.
Xh) Other

Increase prosecution of felons caught with firearms; ease burdensome and unworkable restrictions on guns purchased by law abiding citizens.

1) Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health issues in America.

a) The federal government has no responsibility in providing health care.
b) Implement a universal health care program to guarantee coverage to all Americans regardless of income.
c) Implement a government-financed, single-payer national health care system similar to that of Canada.
d) Support health care strategies focused on prevention, including health education and natural medicines and remedies.
e) Support legislation to define and enforce the rights of insured patients, including greater access to specialists and emergency rooms, wider choice of health care providers, and appeal mechanisms when claims are denied.
f) Allow small business owners, the self-employed and workers whose employers do not provide health insurance to have the same deductibility for health costs as corporations and large employers.
g) Expand eligibility for tax-free medical savings accounts, which would be taxed if used for any purpose other than medical costs.
h) Establish limits on the amount of damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
i) Allow states and local communities to use federal funds for needle-exchange programs to combat the spread of HIV.
j) Classify nicotine as a drug and cigarettes as drug delivery devices, which should be regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.
k) Provide citizens age 55-65 the option of purchasing Medicare health coverage.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding immigration.

a) Decrease the number of immigrants allowed into the country.
b) Increase the eligibility of legal immigrants for certain social programs (i.e. HUD housing, food stamps).
c) Require the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reduce to six months the time between applying for citizenship and taking the oath of allegiance.
d) Provide extra federal aid to states with higher numbers of immigrants for necessary medical and social services.
e) Prohibit states from passing laws that deny human services (medical care, education) to illegal immigrants or their children.
f) Children of illegal immigrants, born in the United States, should not automatically receive U.S. citizenship.
Xg) Increase the immigration quota for computer scientists and other information technology workers.
h) Establish English as the official and recognized language of the United States government.
Xi) Other

Increase both border and interior enforcement against illegal immigrants.

The American people have consistently mentioned the decline of morals and ethics in America as a major problem facing the country. On an attached page, in fifty words or less, explain what you will do as a member of Congress to address this concern.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding Social Security.

a) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which they manage.
b) Allow workers to invest a portion of their payroll tax in private accounts which are managed by the government.
c) Invest Social Security's assets collectively in stocks and bonds instead of U.S. Treasury securities.
d) Increase the payroll tax to finance the program in its current form.
Xe) Invest a portion of the budget surplus into the Social Security trust fund.
f) Increase the minimum age that determines when retirees are able to receive full Social Security benefits.
g) Lower Social Security's annual cost-of-living increases.
h) Limit Social Security benefits based on recipients' other income and assets.
i) Require individuals to pay the Social Security tax on income above $68,400, which is currently exempt.
j) Other

1) Indicate the levels you support concerning taxes in the following categories. Select one number (level) only.

Income Taxes:

Greatly Decreasea) Retiree income over $40,000
Eliminateb) Family income less than $25,000
Greatly Decreasec) Family income $25-75,000
Greatly Decreased) Family income $75-150,000
Eliminatee) Family income over $150,000

Other Tax Issues:

Maintain Statusf) Alcohol taxes
Eliminateg) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increaseh) Charitable deductions
Greatly Increasei) Child tax credit
Slightly Increasej) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusk) Corporate income taxes
Slightly Increasel) Earned Income Tax Credit
Eliminatem) Estate taxes
Slightly Increasen) Medical expense deductions
Slightly Increaseo) Mortgage deductions
p) Other

I support a more simple, fairer tax system.

q) Other
Undecided2) Do you support replacing the U.S. income tax structure with a flat income tax?
No3) Do you support eliminating the Internal Revenue Service?
Undecided4) Do you support instituting a national sales tax?
Yes5) Should a married couple filing jointly pay the same taxes as if they were an unmarried couple filing separately?
Yes6) Do you support requiring a super-majority vote in both houses of Congress to raise taxes?
7) Other
Yes1) Do you support amending the Constitution to limit the number of terms which members of Congress can serve?

If you support term limits, how many terms should each serve?

Senator (# of 6 yr. terms)
Representatives (# of 2 yr. terms)
Yes1) Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?
Yes2) Do you support broadening NAFTA to include other countries in the western hemisphere?
Yes3) Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?
Yes4) Do you support the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Yes5) Do you support imposing tariffs on products imported from nations that maintain restrictive trade barriers on American products?
Yes6) Should a nation's human rights record affect its "most favored nation" trading status with the United States?
Yes7) Do you support granting the President "fast-track" authority?

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding poverty and the welfare system.

a) Provide tax incentives for companies to hire and train homeless people who want to work.
b) Increase funding of homeless shelters and low income housing projects.
c) Increase funds for housing assistance for welfare recipients who need housing to get or keep a job.
d) Provide homeless families with apartment vouchers they can use to supplement the cost of an apartment.
e) Continue to give states and local governments responsibility for welfare programs through block grants.
f) Eliminate federal funds for welfare programs at the federal, state or local levels.
g) Maintain current welfare-to-work requirements in order for states to qualify for block grants.
h) Convert government-funded low-income housing projects into private housing, managed and owned by the residents.
i) Require that unwed teenage mothers live with a parent or guardian (if possible) and attend school to receive benefits.
j) Other
Please explain what your two main legislative priorities will be if elected. Please explain how you would obtain any additional government funding needed to implement these priorities.

As chairman of the Internation Trade Subcommittee, I want to make a difference for rural America. Expanding markets around the world means new good-paying jobs, revitalized Main streets and vibrant Midwestern cities. New markets are key to the viability of the family farm and essential to the good life in Iowa.
As chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, I'm at work to improve the quality of life for older Americans and to advance smart public policies for a nation that's growing older at an unprecedented rate.