2022 Iowa Senate Candidate Guide

Michael Franken (D) vs Chuck Grassley (R)

US Senate | Election | Nov 8, 2022

The Candidates

Michael Franken

Michael Franken

Democrat

Chuck Grassley

Chuck Grassley

Republican

The Issues

Abortion

Ban or legal?

Michael Franken (D)

Legal. Overturning Roe v. Wade is “a direct attack on women and 100% unacceptable.” Supports a woman’s right to full autonomy. Opposes limits to abortion such as parental consent or defining fetal viability; “the woman and her doctor” should decide.

Chuck Grassley (R)

Mostly ban. Voted against a bill prohibiting government restrictions on abortion rights. Supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade as  “flawed precedent;” “the unalienable right to life… must be protected.” But calls restricting travel for abortions “unconstitutional.”

Climate Change

Should climate change be a top priority? Tax or limit the output of greenhouse gases, or support renewable energy?

Michael Franken (D)

Yes. “Climate change is the most clear and direct threat to the survival of our planet and the future of our children and grandchildren.” Supports a carbon tax,  wind and solar power, and “carbon-reduction goals for the farm sector.”

Chuck Grassley (R)

Mixed. Supports biofuels and wind energy tax credits. Sponsored the Growing Climate Solutions Act to encourage carbon trapping on farms. Supports easing regulations on oil and gas production for energy independence.

Education

How to address the teaching of issues around race and gender identity?

Environment

Loosen or tighten environmental regulations?

Michael Franken (D)

Tighten. Says Iowa can be a “fabulous spot for environmental concerns” by developing wind, solar, and ethanol for electricity. Would “advance environmental justice,” and see “soil and water stewardship…adequately incentivized” in the 2023 farm bill.

Chuck Grassley (R)

Loosen. Sponsored the American Energy Independence Act of 2022 to ease regulations on energy production and pull the US from the Paris Climate Agreement. Voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule that had protected waterways from coal mining waste.

Gun Laws

Pass less or more restrictive legislation on guns?

Health Care

Increase government role in health care, such as expanding Medicaid, limiting drug prices, or promoting COVID safety?

Michael Franken (D)

Yes. Supports “all-encompassing” health care for all Americans. Supports expansion of Medicare to children under 5 and adults over 50. Supports reducing prescription drug prices. Says COVID-19 vaccine mandate for military personnel has saved lives.

Immigration

How to handle immigration? Support a path to citizenship for “DACA” participants brought to the US as children?

Labor

Make it easier or harder for unions to organize?

Michael Franken (D)

Easier. “Will always stand with teachers and unions” and “UAW (the United Auto Workers) and their workers.” Is “a big fan of union rights” and says “This is the time to invest in unions, and we will all be better for it.”

Chuck Grassley (R)

Harder. Opposed PRO Act that expands workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. Co-sponsored National Right-to-Work Act to end, at a national level, the practice of requiring of union membership as a condition of employment.

LGBT Rights

Limit or expand LGBTQ rights?

Marijuana

Ban or legal?

Michael Franken (D)

Legal. “Remove cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance…and legalize it at the Federal level.” Medicinal or “recreational use” of marijuana, controlled like alcohol, is “absolutely fine and well overdue.”

Chuck Grassley (R)

Ban. “There is unfortunately not enough research into the impacts of marijuana use in the long term;” supports education and prevention. Sponsored bill to study medical impact. Says recreational use, “particularly for adolescent or pregnant users,” can be harmful or addictive.

Minimum Wage

Keep or raise the state minimum wage from $7.25? If raise, how much?

Chuck Grassley (R)

Raise to $9.75 or $10.25 to match inflation from the last minimum wage increase in 2007. Says a raise to $15 could lose 1.4 million jobs. Voted against the minimum wage amendment (to $15 by 2025) in the COVID-19 relief bill.

Police and Community

How to address police use of force?

Chuck Grassley (R)

Opposes defunding the police. Was “outraged” at George Floyd’s death, police brutality and racism must be addressed. Co-sponsored bill to encourage ending chokeholds. Opposes federal standards on police conduct.

Student Financial Aid

Support lowering interest on student loans or forgiving them?

Michael Franken (D)

Yes to lower interest. Supports zero interest loans for education. Mixed on forgiveness. “We need to be very careful about loan forgiveness.” Cancelling student debt could increase college costs. Supports national service loan forgiveness programs.

Chuck Grassley (R)

No position found on interest. Introduced a bill indexing for inflation the tax deduction on student loan interest. Introduced bills to provide clearer information on future student loan payments. No on loan forgiveness. “Cancelling debt is not the solution.”

Taxes

Should corporations and wealthier individuals pay less or more taxes?

Chuck Grassley (R)

Less. Voted for the 2017 act that cut the corporate tax from 35 % to 21%. Has supported eliminating federal estate tax. Opposed the American Families Plan, which would increase the top tax rate, close tax loopholes, and stiffen reporting requirements on high-income investments.

Voting Rules

Support tightened restrictions on such voting rules as absentee and early voting, and voter ID?

Chuck Grassley (R)

Yes. Voted against the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, saying “It penalizes states for voter ID laws.” Says the bill wrongly assumes voting law changes in states lead to “voter suppression.” Opposes “federalizing elections.”

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