The Daily Iowan

Grassley trades Judiciary leadership for Senate Finance Chairmanship

Handing in the gavel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley will become the lead on the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate+Judiciary+Committee+Chair+Chuck+Grassley%2C+R-Iowa%2C+talks+to+reporters+at+the+Eight+Circuit+Judicial+Conference+in+Des+Moines+on+Friday%2C+Aug.+17%2C+2018.+
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Grassley trades Judiciary leadership for Senate Finance Chairmanship

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, talks to reporters at the Eight Circuit Judicial Conference in Des Moines on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, talks to reporters at the Eight Circuit Judicial Conference in Des Moines on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

Sarah Watson

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, talks to reporters at the Eight Circuit Judicial Conference in Des Moines on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

Sarah Watson

Sarah Watson

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, talks to reporters at the Eight Circuit Judicial Conference in Des Moines on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

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Iowa’s senior senator Chuck Grassley will trade his position of Senate Judiciary Committee chairman to lead the Senate Finance Committee.

The spot opened after Orrin Hatch, a long-time Republican senator from Utah, retired this year. The Senate Finance Committee works with taxes and revenue sources. Grassley previously served as chairman of that committee for a five-month stint in 2001 and from 2003 to 2007.

The Senate Republican Conference rules limit service as chairman and ranking member to six years or three Congresses for each role. Grassley is eligible to serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for one full Congress.

Grassley has been a member of the Judiciary Committee since first being elected in 1980 and has chaired the committee since 2015. He previously served as ranking member for the four years before becoming chairman.

During his tenure on the committee, 18 nominees to the Supreme Court were submitted to the Senate, and 15 of those nominees served or are currently serving on the bench. Since taking the helm of the committee, three nominees were submitted and two went through the nomination process.

As chairman, Grassley presided over the confirmation hearings of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which drew national attention and extended hearings after Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault while the two were in high school.

More recently, Grassley has been a key proponent of a criminal-justice bill that would cut mandatory minimum sentences for some federal crimes, including drug offenses. He partnered with second-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on the bill and on Wednesday received a statement of support from President Trump.

Republicans will have two spots on the Judiciary Committee to fill, with Hatch and Arizona’s Jeff Flake retiring.

Grassley, 85, was elected to the Senate in 1980 after serving in the U.S. House of Representative and the state Legislature in Iowa.

After Hatch’s retirement, Grassley will also become the Senate president pro tem, a position held by the longest-serving member of the Senate from the majority party. The job puts him third in the line of succession for the presidency behind the vice president and the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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About the Writer
Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

Twitter: @K_5mydearwatson

Sarah Watson is the current Politics Editor at the DI, coordinating breaking news and in-depth coverage of Iowa politics....

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