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Sen. Grassley talks Gov. Reynolds' executive order, coronavirus stimulus negotiations

Iowa's senior senator said he supports skipping recess in hopes of getting a new agreement on a coronavirus stimulus package.

IOWA, USA — Iowa senator Chuck Grassley (R) weighed in on Gov. Kim Reynolds' executive order to restore voting rights for most felons, as well as negotiations for another phase of the CARES Act stimulus payments.

"If you paid your debt to society, you ought to be welcomed back into society," Grassley said of Executive Order Seven, which was signed by Gov. Reynolds on Wednesday.

Iowa is no longer the only state to have a lifetime voting ban for felons.

Grassley said Reynolds' action has similar echoes to what was accomplished through the FIRST STEP Act, the criminal justice legislation he authored and which President Trump signed into law in December 2018.

"It would allow people to get a second chance if they've been given a too harsh of a sentence in regard to the crime that they committed," Grassley said.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are continuing to negoatiate a second COVID-19 financial relief package.

Grassley said democrats are insisting on $3 trillion for new coronavirus relief, while Senate Republicans want to spend no more than $1 trillion.

He said enhanced unemployment benefits are a key area of disagreement.

The provision giving unemployed Americans an extra $600, as part of the CARES Act, expired on July 31.

Grassley maintained he's against reinstating that extra benefit amount in any future legislation.

"We know that it doesn't make common sense to pay people more not to work than to work," he said. "And that's a disincentive to work."

When asked if Grassley would consider skipping the August recess, the senator said he would, at least for now.

"I plan on being here next week, and the recess was supposed to start Friday night," he said. "So I'll be here. But I think that I would expect every senator to be here."

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