Sen. Charles Grassley on Tuesday took part in an exclusive interview with the Journal-Express. Several topics were addressed.
Health care reform
Last week, Grassley successfully proposed an amendment that put Senators under the same law and regulations as other Americans regarding health care reform.
“We will still have to go to the exchange,” Grassley said. Meanwhile, many companies have been granted exemptions from the 2010 law, set to go into full effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been designated as the enforcement arm of the law, though the union representing IRS employees is seeking an exemption from it. Grassley was unsure of where that fight stands.
The mandate in which employers are forced to provide health insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours a week has been suspended for one year, through an executive order by President Obama. Grassley, as well as Sen. Tom Harkin, question whether or not Obama has the authority to suspend the mandate. The matter has been turned over to the courts.
“I don’t think he does,” Grassley said of Obama. “The law is the law, but it takes forever to get a court decision.”
Grassley believes that if such a suspension is good enough for corporations, it is good enough for working Americans. McClatchy reported, based upon Bureau of Labor statistics, that 97 percent of the jobs created in America in 2013 have been classified as part-time.
When asked if the American economy can survive and grow with figures like this, Grassley said, “Absolutely not.” He added, “You’d have to get two part-time jobs.”
The bottom line is that the economy is not growing, he said. An issue that he has commonly heard during his town hall meetings is that there are couples in which both spouses work. One of them is covered by the other’s health care plan. However, the spouse who is not employed by the health care provider is still seeing his or her hours reduced because of the regulations in the law.