Two of Iowa’s top elected leaders will meet in Washington D.C. this afternoon (3:30) to discuss mutual priorities. Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is sitting down with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, a meeting Grassley says he welcomes. Grassley says they’ll talk about issues including: transportation, health care and education. Vilsack, a Democrat, has been a harsh critic of the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind law. Grassley, a Republican, was asked if there will be friction between himself and the Governor on this issue in today’s meeting. Grassley says it’s a problem for many state political leaders as “they haven’t been able to keep up their obligations under state funds.” He says it’s easy for state leaders to blame the federal government as the scapegoat, but in reality, Grassley says federal education funding has risen 60-percent since 2001. Another partisan issue, taxes, has divided many politicians. Vilsack proposes raising cigarette and state sales taxes but Grassley says he’s not going to touch that subject. Grassley says he tried to “sell the legislature on mandating ethanol a few years ago and I was badly reprimanded for a federal official trying to dictate to state government.” Vilsack is in the nation’s capitol to attend the National Governors Association meeting. He’s also chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.
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