Jobs, the national debt, government intrusion and health care.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, got an earful Tuesday about what he said are the most passionate issues facing the nation at one of several town hall meetings he is holding this week in the state.
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Meeting with about 90 people at the Eldridge Community Center, Grassley said the questions he has fielded at just about all of his meetings during the year have been heavy on those issues.
“Jobs, the economy, the nation’s debt, those are the biggest issues on people’s minds as I travel around Iowa, and they are the biggest issues in the presidential race,” Grassley said.
Several people brought up issues relating to the Second Amendment, worried that the United Nations will try to force the U.S. to give up its firearms. But Grassley said that would not happen because the Supreme Court has supported of gun ownership.
The fate of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform package still is in the hands of the Supreme Court, Grassley told one person who asked about it.
If the health care law is found to be unconstitutional as a whole, he said, “then we start all over again.” If only the portion that makes health insurance mandatory is struck down, then Congress must come up with changes that sit well with the American people.
Grassley, along with a large portion of the Eldridge audience, said he favors voter identification cards.
“You have to have a photo ID to get on an airplane,” he said, as members of the audience applauded. “You should need one to vote.”
Dave Lane of Donahue hit a nerve in the room when he asked Grassley, “We’re $16 trillion in debt. What would be your number that indicates we’re in trouble?
“You’ve got to stop the spending,” Lane said. “You can’t tax us enough to take care of it.”
Grassley said he believes a debt ratio of 35 percent to 40 percent of the gross national product is manageable.
One member of the audience, Don Leslie of Park View, said he was there to hear what Grassley had to say.
“They’re not going to quit spending,” he said of Congress. “I’d send them all home.”
Speaking of Grassley, Leslie said, “You never heard him say he’d quit spending.”
In addition to Eldridge, Grassley had events Tuesday in Clinton, Maquoketa, Muscatine and West Branch.
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