Friday, August 10, 2018
History: Grassley Recalls the 2016 Supreme Court Vacancy
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is releasing five videos, one every day this week, looking back at memorable moments from his annual 99 county meetings and how they have helped inform his work for Iowans. Grassley holds at least one question-and-answer session with Iowans in each of Iowa’s 99 counties annually, and has done so every year since he was elected to the United States Senate. This week, Grassley is holding meetings in 16 different counties. Today’s video recalls the 2016 Supreme Court vacancy that was left with the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. The video can be found here and the text can be found below.
Justice Scalia’s death created an unexpected vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court during the 2016 presidential election. At the time, I served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Our committee has exclusive jurisdiction over judicial nominations to the federal bench. I also was up for re-election that November.
It’s safe to say the vacancy took on a life of its very own, boiling over in the cauldron of election year politics. Looking back, I bore the brunt of a well-financed, well-oiled machine that tried its dog-gone best to turn the court of public opinion against me. But thick skin is a pre-requisite for public office.
My opponents tried just about everything you could imagine. They organized protests and even public stunts to chase me around the state. They used an airplane banner, electronic billboards and one protestor even dressed as Ben Franklin. The freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are alive and well in Iowa, I know. Civic engagement in the 21st century is as important today as at dawn of our republic. I didn’t flinch from the extra attention or from my commitment to hold meetings in every county, at least once, every year. If people want to give me a piece of their mind, it’s my job to listen as a representative of the people.
Keeping in touch with my constituents keeps me accountable. So does the ballot box. Iowa voters returned me to a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. At the start of the 115th Congress, I resumed chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. From here and my other committee assignments, I’m working harder than ever to represent Iowans and my home state.
Monday, July 16, 2018
Senators Introduce Bill to Fight Price Fixing by OPEC
Legislation will allow DOJ to bring antitrust charges for illegal pricing practices
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced bipartisan legislation that will let the federal government take action against price fixing by OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have cosponsored the legislation.
“It’s long past time to put an end to illegal price fixing by OPEC. The oil cartel and its member countries need to know that we are committed to stopping their anti-competitive behavior,” Grassley said. “We, in the United States, have been working for years to develop our domestic clean, renewable and alternative energy resources. We’re also committed to reducing our reliance on foreign oil, especially when it’s artificially and illegally priced. Our bill shows the OPEC members we will not tolerate their flagrant antitrust violations.”
“Open competition in international oil markets is critical to ensuring that American families pay fair prices at the pump. But under current law, the Justice Department is powerless to stop OPEC and its members from coordinating oil production to manipulate prices and supply, driving up fuel costs for millions of American consumers. Our bipartisan legislation would allow U.S. antitrust laws to be enforced against OPEC producers, helping to ensure that U.S. gas prices are fair and affordable,” Klobuchar said.
“Oil plays a unique role in the global economy,” Lee said. “For years, OPEC has used production quotas to keep oil prices artificially high, directly hurting American consumers in the process. This bill ensures that the Department of Justice can hold entities which engage in open and notorious cartel activity in this important sector to account in U.S. courts.”
“In another time of rising gas prices, it is vital to American consumers and our economy that we do all we can to make sure that oil prices are not artificially inflated. High oil prices have a particular impact in rural states like Vermont, whether it is home heating oil, fuel for tractors or just driving to work. I have long supported this legislation because it will bring accountability to the types of collusive behavior that spike the cost of gas at the pump. I hope this is finally the Congress where these critical reforms can be enacted into law,” Leahy said.
The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, would explicitly authorize the Justice Department to bring lawsuits against oil cartel members for antitrust violations. It would clarify that neither sovereign immunity nor the “Act of State” doctrine prevents a court from ruling on antitrust charges brought against foreign governments for engaging in illegal pricing, production and distribution of petroleum products.
OPEC is a 15-member organization that accounts for more than 73 percent of the world’s crude oil reserves.
Full text of the legislation is available HERE.
Charles E. Grassley,
Chairman Senate Committee on the Judiciary Des Moines Office
721 Federal dingBuil
210 Walnut Street
Des Moines, IA 50309