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Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. It was the one day out of 365 where America honors all those men and women who serve. It should encompass a week, or a month — but there is no doubt they deserve our honor and gratitude.

And Speaker of the Iowa House Pat Grassley recognized that on Twitter.

Veterans and their families have indeed sacrificed to defend our nation and protect our freedoms.

So, why did Grassley not make sure Senate File 321 advanced through his chamber earlier this year?

The bill, which would have resulted in a huge increase in funding for Iowa veterans, passed the Senate 48-0 on March 10.

Not a single organization registered against the bill.

The Iowa Veterans Fund received just 0.28 percent interest in 2011 and two percent in 2019. State Sen. Jim Carlin, who sponsored and managed the bill through the Senate, said it was a solution drafted in conversations with Bob Bird and Democrat Sen. Bill Dotzler.

Carlin said on the floor during debate they wanted to invest in a way that is more in line with IPERS investments.

Again, it passed 48-0.

For what it is worth, Senate File 466 also passed the Senate unanimously that day. So did Senate File 524. And so did Senate File 540. Oh, and Senate File 357.

If you’re curious…

Senate File 540 was passed 48-0 in the Senate on March 10. It was immediately messaged to the House. On March 11, it was read for the first time in the House and referred to State Government.

Senate File 357 was passed 48-0 in the Senate on March 10. It was immediately messaged to the House. On March 11, it was read for the first time in the House and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Senate File 466 was passed 48-0 in the Senate on March 10. It was immediately messaged to the House. On March 11, it was read for the first time in the Iowa House and referred to the Human Resources Committee.

Senate File 524 was passed 48-0 in the Senate on March 10. It was immediately messaged to the House. On March 11, it was read for the first time in the Iowa House and referred to Human Resources.

All four bills originated in the Senate and passed on March 10 with 48-0 votes. All four were read into the Iowa House and assigned committees by Grassley on March 11.

But Senate File 321, a bill helping Iowa veterans, was seemingly left behind.

Like those other four bills, Senate File 321 passed 48-0 on March 10. Like those other four bills, Senate File 321 was immediately messaged to the Iowa House. Like those other four bills, the message was received in the House on March 11.

But unlike those other four bills, Senate File 321 was not introduced and referred to a committee until April 9 — nearly one month after the other four.

On March 9, there were a handful of bills that passed the Senate unanimously. Five of them were read for the first time in the Iowa House and referred to appropriate committees on March 10.

On March 8, there were seven bills passed in the Iowa Senate with unanimous support. All seven were read in the House that day or the day after.

So, of the 16 or so bills that passed unanimously in the Senate that week, all but one was read for the first time in the Iowa House the day it passed the Senate or the day after it passed the Senate.

But one was not.

And it just so happened that one was sponsored and floor managed by Carlin, who is challenging Grassley’s grandpa, Sen. Chuck Grassley, in a Republican primary.

I would call it a coincidence, but former Congressman Steve King told me a couple of years ago that in politics, there is no such thing as a “coincidence.”

It is believed that the changes the bill made to the Iowa Veterans Fund would’ve led to millions of more dollars for Iowa veterans.

Yet it took a month to be referred to an Iowa House committee. It eventually died.

How in the world does that happen?

Grassley should be pressed on this issue immediately. If not by Republicans in the Iowa House, then Republicans where ever he goes. But there are plenty of veterans in the Iowa House Republican caucus who should be demanding answers to this issue.

Grassroots Republicans should get answers as well. For instance, tonight he is at the Polk County Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines. He should be pressed why Senate File 321 didn’t advance through the House and why Iowa veterans are out the benefits of the bill.

Carlin issued a press release earlier this week that asked a couple of blunt questions:

“Is Pat Grassley abusing his position as Speaker of the House by blocking legislation simply because it was authored by someone running against his grandfather, Chuck Grassley? Why was a bill that garnered unanimous support in the Senate blocked and kept from becoming law in the Iowa State House?”

Carlin noted the content of the legislation was not controversial.

“Does the Speaker of the Iowa State House wield his position as a political weapon to benefit his family’s special interests,” Carlin asked. “Tactics like this may succeed in punishing fellow lawmakers who don’t play along with his games, but at the end of the day, the interests of veterans and the victims of human trafficking are the ones left to suffer.”

Author: Jacob Hall