President Barack Obama has cut out one of the Senate's most influential members — Iowa's Chuck Grassley — and the two haven't spoken in nearly four years, Grassley has revealed.
After frequently talking on the phone, the calls stopped in August 2009, the time that the third-longest-serving Republican senator told the president he could not support his healthcare reforms.
Grassley, a congressional powerhouse who struck landmark legislative deals with both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told The Hill
that he had been one of the Senate's "Gang of Six" working on Obamacare and the two spoke regularly.
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"During that period of time, the president would call me on my cellphone and talk to me," Grassley said. "I don't know if it was a half a dozen times or a dozen times, but enough so you remember he called you."
But all that ended when Grassley said he could not support a bipartisan healthcare bill.
Since then, Obama has twice dined with groups of Senate Republicans, but did not invite Grassley, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee. In addition, Grassley says, he has not even met Miguel Rodriguez, White House director of legislative affairs.
Soon after Obama was elected president, conservatives worried about an alliance between him and Grassley, a six-term senator. It never happened, and Grassley now blasts the president for failing to keep his promises to run the most transparent administration in American history.
"I’ve had problems with both Republican and Democratic presidents, but this president is the worst from this standpoint — his own benchmark," Grassley said. "By his own benchmark this is the most stonewalling president this country has ever had."
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