Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s now taking personal calls from President Obama with little warning, as heated negotiations continue on revamping the nation’s health care system.
Grassley is the chief Republican negotiator on the Senate Finance Committee, where members are working on what they hope will be a bipartisan bill. Grassley recalls a recent call from the president on his cell phone.
"I didn’t have a precondition he was calling — I didn’t even know who it was," Grassley says. "The cell phone said unknown number, so I answered it in front of a couple other senators. It didn’t take me long to get out of that environment when they said the president wants to speak to you."
Grassley says he asked the president to get behind one bipartisan proposal to control health care inflation. "I asked for help in a couple of areas, but I’m not going to tell you about a private conversation because I don’t want to get into a personal conversation with the president," Grassley says.
"He won’t be calling me if he knows I’m going to blab to the press all the time." Grassley and his Democratic counterpart, Senator Max Baucus, have been united, so far, in their goal to come up with a bipartisan compromise on health care.
Grassley says Baucus may be getting some pressure from the White House to pass a bill and Democratic leaders may tell him to forget the bipartisan stuff.