Fear of new federal regulations of firearms took up quite a bit of the discussion time during U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's Town Meeting in Tama on Tuesday morning, April 2. However Rick Hopper, rural Toledo, was able to slip in one question -"What about a Farm Bill."
Here's a sampling of issues brought forth:
Gun Control legislation- In addressing various facets of gun control, Grassley pledged he would not support current bills aimed at controlling assault rifles or other restrictions. He said the bill he is writing is directed, in part, at protecting veterans' 2nd Amendment rights for those who may be mistakenly classified due to suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Cedar Falls) fielded questions from 75 persons gathered for a Town Meeting on Tuesday morning, April 2, at the Tama Civic Center. Grassley has made it a tradition to visit each of Iowa’s counties at least once a year to meet with residents. News-Herald/John Speer
In something of a humorous exchange, a person identified only as a Des Moines resident pressed Grassley on his stance and intentions in voting on gun legislation.
Grassley asked if he were the same person he had spoken to on the telephone.
When the man confirmed he was the caller, Grassley asked,"?Didn't you believe me?"
Assistance for veterans- Grassley agreed there is a "big backlog" in assistance provided U.S. military veterans. He said there is recognition of a lag between the time service people are discharged and their records transferred from the department of Defense to the department of Veterans Affairs. He said an amendment passed last Friday in the senate will direct more money at the issue.
Immigration- Grassley said he wants to assess the final outcome of any legislation. He recalled his vote in favor of a bill in 1986 which "we thought would solve this forever." Among provisions was a prohibition against hiring undocumented workers. Grassley said this resulted in "an industry of fraudulent documents."
Linda Rosenberger, Tama, executive director of Tama County Health and Home Care, charged "more and more paperwork" is burdening those working in the field. Grassley questioned if she believed the circumstance was primarily in one specific are area such as nursing homes or all medical care. Rosenberger said she had worked in most of the areas and is convinced all providers are affected.
Karen Gray, rural Tama, called for a return to "pencil and paper" in the classroom. She charged federal money for programs is influencing school offerings.
Flat rate income tax or national tax- Grassley said he could favor either program and believes some 70 percent of American favor changing the current income tax system. Grassley said would lean toward the flat tax because some 45 states rely upon sales tax for revenue.
Tougher courts, prisons- Tama police Chief Dan Wilkens called for national jail standards. He contended criminals are better protected than the public he is charged with protecting.
2013 Farm Bill- Grassley said the chair of the Senate Agriculture Debbie Stabenow has told him they will start on a Farm Bill this month and hopefully it will emerge in May. He said the House also will start on a bill in May. Grassley said he believes passage of a 2013 bill will occur by late summer or early fall. He said expects it will eliminate direct payments, keep crop insurance provisions much the same and save an estimated billion. He said an area of disagreement may develop over target prices versus marked-based.
He said the southern states are influenced by a desired target price for cotton and peanut crops. This opposes midwest crop farmers who prefer a market-based method, he said.