Last week, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin — a Democrat — predicted congress would get health care reform legislation to the president’s desk by November and now Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, is suggesting the bill will reach Obama by Thanksgiving.
"If we get a bill on the senate floor by the third or fourth week of September, it’s probably going to take two weeks. Probably take a month to negotiate the difference between the house and senate provisions, so I would suggest the middle of November," Grassley says.
"And it’s an ideal time for that because it’s kind of natural break…the Friday just before Thanksgiving break." Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which passed its own version of heath care reform late last week. Grassley, meanwhile, is among a group of six senators on the Senate Finance Committee who’re working behind closed doors to try to hammer out a compromise.
"Health care is a life or death issue for every American. That’s what health care is about," Grassley says. "And I think that when you do that it needs to be done cautiously and I think that’s why, both in the house and the senate, you’ve seen things slow down a bit because people are beginning to realize that this isn’t something that can be treated casually like a lot of pieces of legislation are treated."
Grassley says he remains opposed to a so-called "public option" that would be a government alternative to private insurance.