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Transcription of Senator Grassley's Capitol Hill Report


Location: Unknown

OPERATOR: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Iowa

Senator Chuck Grassley speaking to you live from Des Moines.

Participating in today's public affairs program are Michael Cooley

with KSIB Radio in Creston and Rick Morain with the Jefferson Herald

in Jefferson. The first question will be from Michael Cooley.

COOLEY: Yes, Senator Grassley, recently Governor Culver met with

President-elect Barack Obama asking for an expansion to include power

grid improvements in possible stimulus money to come from the federal

government in regards to wind energy. Is this something that we'll

see likely in the future?

GRASSLEY: We're definitely going to continue tax incentives for

wind energy. What we'll do beyond that I'm not sure because everybody

in the wind energy business feels as long as we keep in the 1.8 cents

per kilowatt hour tax incentive that we're going to have plenty

incentive to build wind energy.

What we need beyond that I have not had anybody in the wind

energy business tell me. And since I'm the father of the wind energy

tax incentive, that 1.8 cents I'm talking about going back to 1992 and

have always supported extensions of it since then, obviously you're

going to find me being in the forefront of any effort to make sure

that we have a viable wind energy business.

COOLEY: OK, thank you.

MORAIN: Senator, the agreement under which coalition troops can

operate in Iraq expires at the end of this month. And the Iraqi

government is working through the approval process of that. Is that

agreement defined as a treaty under U.S. law? And if so, will the

U.S. - will the Senate have to approve it as well?

GRASSLEY: It is not defined as a treaty. It's defined as an

agreement, a military agreement between two governments. We have

similar agreements with about 115 other countries. They do not give

us any right to intervene in a country. It only lays out under what

circumstances if we are in that country we have certain rights and


MORAIN: Thank you.

COOLEY: Senator Grassley, a recent report came out - I'm sure

you're familiar with the Generation Iowa Commission - that shows,

according to census data, Iowa has lost more college-educated people

than 46 other states since the year 2000. What do we need to do to be

able to fix that brain drain?

GRASSLEY: We obviously need higher paying jobs in Iowa. I think

the pay is the most important thing. But among young people as

opposed to those of us that are older we're finding a great deal of

interest on the part of young people in the quality of life that we

have in Iowa.

And I think for young professionals that involves two things,

things that are recreational and ecologically oriented and things that

are good-paying jobs. And maybe I ought to add another thing, kind of

the quality of life involving the finer arts. And I think we - in

order to - I think the jobs are the most important thing. I think

economics is probably going to rule out a lot of other things. So the

extent to which we have high-tech jobs, scientific jobs is the route

to go.

COOLEY: Thank you.

MORAIN: Senator, the 2007 farm bill provided authority to create

a Northern Great Plains authority for six states in the upper Midwest,

Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and then the next tier over, the Dakotas and

Nebraska. It hasn't been rolled out yet, but with the stimulus

package coming down the pike, is there a possibility that the Northern

Great Plains authority might be created as a vehicle to funnel some of

that stimulus money to the upper Midwest?

GRASSLEY: I think that without a doubt that the organization

you're referring to is well-respected as a think tank and a planning

agency and an agency to make recommendations. I'm not sure that I can

answer your question because I don't know to what extent they're an

administering organization.


GRASSLEY: And in the way of expending funds for economic

development, infrastructure and for economic stimulus, they would have

to be a functioning organization as well as a study recommending

organization. Now, to what extent are they administering programs

that actually expend money and would see that projects would be built?

MORAIN: Yes, there's a Northern Great Plains, Incorporated,

which is a non-profit agency. And I think that's the one you're

talking about. The farm bill provides for the creation of an actual

authority like the delta authority.

GRASSLEY: Well, and in that case...

MORAIN: ... Appalachian authority.

GRASSLEY: Yes, then in that case, they could administer the



GRASSLEY: Now, your question to me is would they stand a chance

of getting funds.


GRASSLEY: And at this point, I have not been involved in enough

discussions about stimulus package that I know beyond highways,

airports and metro planning and some disaster prevention that I can

speak about anything else.

MORAIN: Yes, yes. Thank you.

COOLEY: Senator Grassley, we're seeing all sorts of, it looks

like, the big three auto makers obviously back and forth and wondering

-- it looks like they're learning. Instead of a jet, they're bringing

their own cars now. But wondered if you could give your take on the

updated SARS (ph), how that's going.

GRASSLEY: Well, there's some suggestion this morning on

television that we may not even be called back into session next week.

For three weeks I've been planning to go back on December the 8th to

spend at least one week in session. That may not happen, based upon

what Reid was saying yesterday. It isn't definitive.

Now, if we do go back and if it's going to get enough support so

that loans would go out, I would say my condition and the condition of

a lot of people I've heard from, particularly colleagues, is that

union contracts are going to have to be renegotiated. Now, we've got

to get American manufacturers more competitive with foreign

manufacturers that are manufacturing in the Southern parts of the

United States. And if that doesn't happen, I don't think one would go


Now, I think I could tell you also, though, from the standpoint

of the calls to my office, that it seems to be overwhelmingly opposed

to any sort of help for the big three. But I don't know whether

that's if we had the condition of renegotiating union contracts, if

that might make people, my constituents, a little more amenable to it.

But if it's a flat out give them money, I think it's

overwhelmingly in opposition to it. There tends to be a real problem

with not just Detroit, but a feeling on the part of our constituents

that maybe what we've already done isn't doing enough good. And so,

people are a little bit anti-bailout, based upon just lethargy towards


MORAIN: Senator, the Des Moines Register this morning had a

little item about your revamped web site and quoting you as urging

people to go to it as a way to communicate with your office. Will you

still -- do you still plan to continue your tradition of visiting each

of Iowa's 99 counties every year in addition to the revamped web site?

GRASSLEY: Yes. I hope I didn't imply in any way that the new

web site had anything to do with changing my approach for 28 years,

having a town meeting, high school meeting, rotary club, visiting

businesses. But most of my meetings are at the courthouse where I

just have a plain, old, simple town meeting. Anyway, I intend to

continue those. And I'll be starting -- if we're not in session in

January, it'll start in January. Otherwise, it'll start with our

President's Day recess that we have in February. And I'll hopefully

get through the 99 counties by Labor Day, as I do most every year.

MORAIN: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Thank you, Michael and Rick, for participating in

today's public affairs program. This has been Senator Chuck Grassley

reporting to the people of Iowa.

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