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Grassley to Leave Judiciary for Finance Committee

He will be limited to two years as Finance chairman.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley used the power of seniority to claim chairmanship of the tax-writing Finance Committee on Friday, saying he would pursue a pro-growth agenda of “additional tax relief and tax fairness” and making health care more affordable.

Grassley would become Finance chairman officially in January when Senate Republicans make committee assignments. He is assured of the new chairmanship, however, because, in his seventh term, he is the longest-serving GOP senator. In becoming Finance chairman, he will surrender the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, where he oversaw confirmation of two Supreme Court justices. Senate Republicans confirmed Grassley this week for the post of president pro tempore in the new session, putting him third in the line of succession to the presidency.

“The economy is better than it’s been in years and there’s a sense of optimism about the future of our country that people haven’t felt in a long time,” said Grassley, crediting tax cuts and regulatory relief. “Looking ahead, at the Finance Committee, I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves.” That means “additional tax relief and tax fairness,” he said, along with encouraging business growth, larger exports “and it means improving the affordability, quality, and accessibility of health care, including in rural America.”

Under GOP rules, Grassley will be limited to two years as Finance chairman. He chaired the committee a decade ago and used up most of the six-year limit for service as chairman. Grassley had his choice of three committee chairmanships and consulted with colleagues this week before announcing his decision.

As Finance chairman, Grassley could play an influential role in consideration of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, negotiated by the three nations as the successor to NAFTA. The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over international trade as well as taxes.

“The Finance Committee will be in good hands with Senator Grassley at the helm,” said chairman Orrin Hatch, of Utah, who is retiring from the Senate. “I am confident Chairman Grassley will carry out a robust agenda that will build on tax reform’s recent success and continue to make progress in the health care, trade, and oversight spaces.”

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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