WASHINGTON — Senator Chuck Grassley was the only Republican in the Iowa delegation who voted in favor of the one-point-two trillion dollar infrastructure bill which President Biden signed into law Monday, and Grassley stands by his vote. He calls the massive measure “an investment in Iowa’s future.”
Grassley was invited to the White House bill signing ceremony and skipped it, but he says it wasn’t for political reasons. “We got notice either late Friday or Saturday, I don’t think it was as late as Sunday, that I was invited and we already had my schedule for Monday set up,” Grassley says. “I had meetings with Iowans and I don’t like to cancel meetings with Iowans, particularly for what would be considered a photo op.”
Under the measure, as much as five billion dollars will be coming to Iowa for infrastructure projects, everything from roads to public transportation to airports. “Without a doubt, the policy is good for Iowa,” Grassley says. “Just think of the 23% of the bridges in Iowa that are structurally deficient. That’s the worst of the 50 states. Making sure we have safe bridges, we get over $300-million just for that project.” Back in August, Grassley called the infrastructure bill a “significant investment in Iowa’s roads, bridges, waterways, energy and internet.”
He says the measure was passed with bipartisan support and will not hurt his reelection chances as it “paves the way…for economic opportunity in the Hawkeye State.” “We’ve got highways that are 40 years old that need to be torn up and laid down again, we get a little over $4-billion for that,” Grassley says. “Think of the fact that a large share of rural Iowa, maybe even some places in cities in Iowa, don’t have good internet service and so there’s money for broadband.”
Speaking of reelection, if Grassley wins another term next year, he’d become the longest-serving current member of the U-S Senate since Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy has announced he won’t seek re-election. Grassley was asked if that’s something he considered in deciding to run again. “No, not at all,” Grassley says. “Serving Iowans is all I thought about.”
Grassley is 88 and is in his seventh term in the Senate.