Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s "very disappointed" Timothy Geithner was sworn in last night as the new U.S. Treasury Secretary. Grassley, a Republican, says he voted against the nomination before the full Senate yesterday afternoon primarily because of Geithner’s tax troubles.
Geithner failed to pay some $34,000 in income taxes over several recent years, and now he’s the head of the I.R.S. That’s a contradiction, according to Grassley. "There’s less leeway for employees of the Internal Revenue Service," Grassley says.
"They can be fired on the spot if they don’t file their income tax. That’s not true of other federal employees and there ought to be a high standard for IRS agents. Well, he’s going to oversee them. How can he do that in good conscience and setting a good example?"
Grassley was joined in voting against Geithner’s nomination by Democrat Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. The vote was 34 against, 60 in favor.
Grassley is introducing legislation today he says aims to strengthen the healthcare delivery system in rural America. Grassley says the bill would enact policy changes that zero in on the challenges facing rural health care providers, and thus for the recipients, nationwide.
Grassley says, "This comprehensive bill would improve payment formulas for rural doctors, rural ambulance services, mid-sized rural hospitals." He says the bill would bring relief to "tweener" hospitals that are somewhere between small clinics and giant medical centers. Grassley says those hospitals include several in Iowa cities, like: Spencer, Spirit Lake, Fort Madison, Muscatine, Carroll, Grinnell, Keokuk and Newton.
He says, "My bill also would protect access for rural residents to home medical equipment and supplies, continue to lend support to smaller critical access hospitals, and enhance the authority of physician assistance who we all know provide very valuable extended care and hospice services." Grassley says the measure seeks fair treatment for rural hospitals from the Medicare payment system, something that’s been a problem in Iowa for years.