U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley stopped in Muscatine on Tuesday, April 18.

Grassley spoke to a packed room at the Kent Corporation, where he was honored for receiving the National Association of Manufacturers Legislative Excellence Award.

Gage Kent, Chairman and CEO of Kent Corporation, and the National Association of Manufacturers honored Grassley with the award. The NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence recognizes Senator Grassley’s voting record in the 114th Congress and his support for a strong manufacturing economy.

The senator spent time answering questions from the crowd. Questions ranged from international trade and the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court and the senator’s opinion on immigration.

Grassley explained that he felt that President Trump has “modified” his harsher campaign position on trade. “He has put out some goals in regard to renegotiation with Mexico that are quite a bit more moderate than what he would have suggested in the campaign. He was going to immediately label China a currency manipulator; he’s backing off of that, because he feels that he has good rapport with the president of China.” Grassley further explained that he feels China can be helpful to the U.S. in negotiations with North Korea.

“We are very much an exporting nation. My reminder about agriculture was two things: one, if there is retaliation against the United States for something that we do on trade, agriculture is usually hit first, and secondly . . . it seems to me that you always have to have strong agricultural negotiations and results to bring along manufacturing and services.” Grassley feels that agriculture negotiations open the door to other trade deals. He stated that the current climate “doesn’t feel as bleak as when we pulled out of TPP” (the Trans-Pacific Partnership).

Grassley expressed a satisfaction in the president’s choice of Sonny Perdue as the Secretary of Agriculture, saying that he feels Perdue represents the “family farm values” that are important to those in Iowa.

He discussed the need for reform to the Affordable Care Act, stating that insurance companies dropping out of the exchange is an indication of the need.

When asked about tax reform that was discussed on the campaign trail, Grassley states there has “not been much movement” on the matter through Congress. He went on to say that if corporations are going to receive a tax break, then he feels there should be a tax break for small business as well.

Grassley believes that the health care bill will need to be passed prior to the tax reform bill, as many issues will be resolved in the health care bill.

Grassley stated that regardless of what happens with the Supreme Court over the next three years, if there is a vacancy in the last year, he will stand by his previous position that the “people should have a voice” and allow the new incoming president to make that nomination.

The senator discussed at length the need to revisit regulations that were set in areas such as manufacturing that may be outdated or no longer apply. He explained that while the intent may be helpful, the change in technology since the time of the passing of the regulation may necessitate a change.

Senator Grassley has been serving in the United States Senate since 1981. Prior to that, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981 and the Iowa State Legislature from 1959 to 1974.