July 12, 2024

Grassley says farm bill not likely to pass and needs an extension

Senator argues rural representatives want bill to reflect past 6 years of inflation

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley meets with constituents during a town hall meeting June 21 at the Jasper County Courthouse in Newton.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had a handful of goals he wanted to meet by the end of the year — like keeping prescription drug prices down and passing the updated farm bill — but so far he is not confident he will get to accomplish them. Why? Grassley pointed to the Senate majority leader.

“The only explanation I can give you for that is Sen. (Chuck) Schumer runs the agenda of the U.S. Senate, and he decides what’s coming up or not coming up — that one person,” Grassley said at a June 21 town hall in Jasper County. “If we had a Republican majority it would be the Republican doing that.”

When it comes to reducing prescription drug prices, Grassley said it will be doing that indirectly in a bill that will affect pharmacy benefit managers, which are the middleman entities between the pharmacy and consumers. Pharmacy benefit managers decide prices and rebates. Grassley said it is a problem.

“Go to your local pharmacist and say to them, ‘What do you think of PBMs?’ And then they’ll let you know,” Grassley said. “I’ve never seen a country pharmacist have anything good to say about PBMs.”

If anyone had any questions about the farm bill at the town hall, Grassley said he was not going to get into it much that day. Though he did speculate the reason why the farm bill was not moving forward is because lawmakers from rural states think the next iteration should reflect the increased inflation since 2018.

“I think we’re going to have a one-year extension,” Grassley said.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.