WASHINGTON - Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member, today released a committee report based on a two-year inquiry of the diabetes drug Avandia. The senators also asked the Food and Drug Administration to describe what steps the agency has taken to protect patients in an ongoing Avandia clinical trial, and why the study is allowed to continue, given that the FDA itself estimated that the drug caused approximately 83,000 excess heart attacks between 1999 and 2007.  In 2008, FDA officials called the clinical trial, as then-designed, "unethical and exploitative" of patients.

"There's a real problem when FDA's office that reviews drugs that are on the market is an unequal player in drug safety efforts," Grassley said.  "It doesn't make any sense to have these experts, who study drugs after they have been on the market for several years, under the thumb of the officials who approved the drug in the first place and have a natural interest in defending that decision.  The Avandia case may be the most alarming example of the problem with this set-up.  Both the FDA and Congress need to take every step possible to establish independence for post-market surveillance. The Institute of Medicine has made recommendations.  It's a matter of sound science and public safety."

"Americans have a right to know there are serious health risks associated with Avandia and GlaxoSmithKline had a responsibility to tell them.  Patients trust drug companies with their health and their lives and GlaxoSmithKline abused that trust," Baucus said.  "We will continue watching closely and working with the FDA to make sure patients and doctors are aware of the risks associated with Avandia and all drugs so they can make safe and informed decisions when choosing their medicines."

The committee report explores when the Avandia manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, became aware of heart attack risks associated with the drug, whether the company sufficiently warned patients and the FDA of the dangers, and steps the company apparently took to create doubt regarding negative findings about the drug.

The report was developed over the last two years by committee investigators who reviewed more than 250,000 pages of documents provided by GlaxoSmithKline, the FDA, and several research institutes.  Committee investigators also conducted numerous interviews and phone calls with GlaxoSmithKline, the FDA and anonymous whistleblowers.  The report can be found at http://finance.senate.gov.

Baucus and Grassley directed the report over concerns that Avandia and other high-profile drugs such as Vioxx put public safety at risk because the FDA has been too cozy with drug makers and has been regularly outmaneuvered by companies that have a financial interest in downplaying or under-exploring potential safety risks.  In 2007, Congress enacted legislation giving the FDA some new tools to better protect patients from harm caused by drugs that are brought to market without sufficient safety oversight or consumer warnings. However, the legislation did not fix a fundamental problem at the FDA -- the imbalance between the office responsible for monitoring the safety of drugs after approval and the office that puts drugs on the market in the first place.

The FDA has overlooked or overridden safety concerns cited by its own officials, as appears to be the case with the ongoing Avandia study.  The text of the Baucus-Grassley letter to the FDA on the Avandia study follows here.  The letter with attachments is at http://finance.senate.gov.

February 18, 2010

The Honorable Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, Commissioner

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

White Oak Building 1

10903 New Hampshire Avenue

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Dear Commissioner Hamburg:

As senior members of the United States Senate and Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance (Committee), we have a duty under the Constitution to conduct oversight into the actions of executive branch agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  In this capacity, we must ensure that FDA properly fulfill their mission to advance the public's welfare, safeguard the nation's drug supply, and protect patients participating in clinical trials.

We recently released a report raising concerns about Avandia, a diabetes drug made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).  We began this inquiry after the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in May 2007 warning of the possible cardiovascular risk of Avandia.

Our report was based on a review of hundreds of thousands of pages of internal GSK documents and concluded:

The totality of evidence suggests that GSK was aware of the possible cardiac risks associated with Avandia years before such evidence became public. Based on this knowledge, GSK had a duty to sufficiently warn patients and the FDA of its concerns in a timely manner. Instead, GSK executives intimidated independent physicians, focused on strategies to minimize findings that Avandia may increase cardiovascular risk, and sought ways to downplay findings that the rival drug ACTOS (pioglitazone) might reduce cardiovascular risk.

In 2007, the FDA asked GSK to perform a cardiovascular safety trial, called TIDE (Thiazolidinedione Intervention With Vitamin D Evaluation), to compare Avandia to other diabetes treatments such as ACTOS (piolglitazone).  According to clinicaltrials.gov, the TIDE trial is currently recruiting patients. [ATTACHMENT A]

In response to several document requests made to the FDA, we received and reviewed an analysis conducted by two FDA safety officials.  It is our understanding that this analysis, conducted in October 2008, reviewed all available studies comparing rosiglitazone (Avandia) to pioglitazone (ACTOS).  The analysis by these FDA officials raise some alarms.  For instance, they wrote:

[T]here is no evidence that rosiglitazone confers any unique health benefits over pioglitazone while there is strong evidence that rosiglitazone confers an increased risk of   [heart attacks] and heart failure compared to pioglitazone.  [ATTACHMENT B]

Even more alarming, they concluded that "any proposed head-to-head trial of rosiglitazone vs. pioglitazone would be unethical and exploitative."

Two days after releasing this analysis, one of these same safety officers reviewed the protocol for the TIDE trial. This safety officer wrote that because of cardiovascular concerns with Avandia "the safety of the study itself cannot be assured, and is not acceptable." [Attachment C]

After reading these documents, we would like to know what steps the FDA has taken to protect patients in the TIDE trial, and why this trial is allowed to continue.  We would also like to know if the Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP) was notified about the safety concerns of the TIDE trial identified by the FDA.  Further, we were alarmed to learn that the warnings from these safety officers do not appear to be addressed in the consent form that was handed out to patients that were enrolled in the study.  [Attachment D]

We look forward to hearing from you by no later than March 4, 2010.


Max Baucus, Chairman

Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley announced today that the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded a $640,862 formula grant to Iowa through the State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program.

"This money will help improve safety on Iowa highways," Grassley said.

The State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program supports state highway safety programs designed to reduce traffic crashes and resulting deaths, injuries, and property damage.



WASHINGTON, February 18, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of community based organizations in 18 states to receive funding to promote economic growth. USDA Rural Development Rural Housing Administrator Tammy Trevino made the announcement on Vilsack's behalf while attending an event with Senator Blanche Lincoln at the Arkansas Studies Institute in Little Rock. The organizations will receive more than $6.5 million in total grants to support rural economic development efforts.

"These funds support USDA's partnership with rural America to bring increased economic opportunity to rural citizens and communities," Vilsack said. "They will serve as investments that will help organizations build the capacity and expertise of local nonprofit groups."

For example, in Little Rock, Ark., Winrock International was selected to receive a $251,706 grant to help local groups establish economic development projects, and deliver services including energy audits, teach sustainable business practices and management.

In Bozeman, Mont., Rural Community Innovations, d/b/a National Enterprise, was selected to receive a $251,706 grant to develop a program that provides technical assistance to two non-profit tribal entities and three federally recognized tribes.  Rural Community Innovations will help organizations develop community facilities and housing for low-income and elderly residents along with at-risk and homeless youth in rural communities.

Land-of-Sky Regional Council, in Asheville, N.C., was selected to receive a $50,700 grant to provide technical assistance to help local organizations deliver housing assistance services. Training and technical assistance efforts involve financial planning and management; strategic planning; personnel selection; and sustainability.

The funding announced today is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Community Development Initiative Program which helps community based development organizations, federally recognized Indian tribes and other groups promote economic growth in low-income, rural communities. Recipients are required to obtain matching funds, increasing the value of the grants. The grants are awarded to public or nonprofit intermediary organizations. The funds are then provided to recipients, which must be located in eligible rural areas. Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. The grant awards announced today are not provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The list of the RCDI grant recipients includes the following:

  • Iowa League of RC &Ds: $251,706


  • Corporation for Supportive Housing: $200,000
  • Greater Minnesota Housing Fund: $251,706
  • Minnesota Home Ownership Center: $251,706
  • Initiative Foundation: $251,706

USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facilities programs.  These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $127 billion in loans and loan guarantees.


WASHINGTON --- Senator Chuck Grassley is asking the Food and Drug Administration for an update on the implementation of new guidelines for medical device makers on when they need to file new information with the agency and seek clearance for the marketing and use of modified devices under the 510(k) system, the agency's less stringent process for reviewing most medical devices.

Grassley said that his inquiry today follows up on questions he asked more than a year ago, after a ring used in heart-valve repair was being implanted in patients even though the device hadn't been cleared for this purpose by the FDA.  The FDA subsequently told Grassley that its current policy was inadequate and that an update was underway.  Grassley also asked a number of questions today about the FDA's requirements for manufacturers to report changes made to FDA-approved devices.

"My questions are aimed at establishing greater transparency and accountability for doctors and their patients," Grassley said.  "People have a right to know exactly what the FDA has approved, or not, in making decisions about their health care.  For this to happen, the FDA's policies need to be effective in establishing an accurate public record about the FDA-approval status of any particular product."

The text of the letter sent today from Grassley to the FDA Commissioner follows here.


February 16, 2010

The Honorable Margaret A. Hamburg


U.S. Food and Drug Administration

10903 New Hampshire Ave.

Silver Spring, MD 20993

Dear Commissioner Hamburg:

The United States Senate Committee on Finance (Committee) has jurisdiction over, among other things, the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  As Ranking Member of the Committee, I have a responsibility to the more than 100 million Americans who receive health care coverage under these programs to oversee their proper administration and ensure that taxpayer dollars are appropriately spent on safe and effective drugs and devices.

I appreciate your response of September 30, 2009, to my questions regarding the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA or Agency) guidance to manufacturers on when a modification to a device requires the filing of a new 510(k).  Over a year ago, I wrote to the FDA regarding serious allegations that an annuloplasty ring used in heart valve repair was being implanted in patients even though the device was allegedly not cleared for marketing by the FDA.  The FDA concluded that the company had made the wrong decision when it marketed the product without first seeking clearance from the Agency.  That device, the Myxo dETlogix Annuloplasty Ring (dETlogix ring), has since been cleared by the FDA, but as I stated in my letter to the FDA last April, the fact remains that for more than two years, patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital were being implanted with the device before a 510(k) was submitted to the Agency.

I also wrote to Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and Northwestern University in September regarding the same allegations and asked them whether or not they obtain assurances or confirmation from a device manufacturer that a device is FDA-approved before it is used in their facilities. Attached are their responses for your consideration.  Northwestern Memorial Healthcare stated in its response that Edwards Lifesciences assured Dr. McCarthy that it was taking the steps necessary for FDA approval.  It also stated that, "the health care provider relies on the manufacturer to provide timely and accurate information regarding the regulatory status of the device."  However, in this case, the manufacturer followed FDA's guidance and made the wrong decision regarding its device.

In your September response, you stated that FDA believes its current policy on when a modification to a device requires a new 510(k) submission is not sufficiently clear and is revising the guidance document.  I agree that the guidance document needs to be revised so that we can prevent similar events from occurring in the future.  However, it has been more than four months since I received your response and the new guidance has yet to be released.  Accordingly, I would appreciate you advising me immediately on the status of FDA's revisions to the Agency's guidance entitled, "Deciding When to Submit a 510(k) for a Change to an Existing Device."

In addition, it is my understanding that device manufacturers registered with the FDA must also list the devices that they make with the Agency.  According to FDA's website, registration information must be submitted each year between October 1 and December 31 even if no changes have occurred, and at that time listing information should be reviewed as well.  The website also states that a manufacturer can access the FDA Unified Registration and Listing System at any time to update changes to their registration and listing information as the changes occur.  Examples provided by the FDA include a change to a previously listed device or the introduction of another device into commercial distribution.  In light of the statements made on FDA's website please respond to the following questions:

1)         Would a manufacturer be required to update its device listings even if it changed only the name of an existing device?

2)         Would the manufacturer also be required to update its listings if it made a modification to a device that did not require submission of a new 510(k) but marketed that device under a different name?

3)         If the answer to either question is no, please explain why not.  Please also explain how patients and their doctors would obtain information about the status of a device other than from the manufacturer itself.

4)         FDA concluded that Edwards Lifesciences' dETlogix ring did require a new 510(k).  However, even if a new 510(k) had not been required, was the company required to list that device with the FDA?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  I would appreciate a response to the requests set forth in this letter by no later than March 2, 2010.


Chuck Grassley

United States Senator

Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance

WASHINGTON --- Senator Chuck Grassley has asked the Food and Drug Administration about progress made to improve foreign drug inspection, following commitments made by the agency when Baxter International temporarily suspended production of its blood thinner heparin in 2008 because of adverse reactions.

"My letter today follows up on oversight I did at that time because requirements the FDA already had in place then were not met by the FDA, and the drug company itself didn't have a system to check the quality of upstream providers of the drug components.  In fact, pharmaceutical companies aren't required to have those checks in place," Grassley said.  "I will continue asking the FDA for information and working to hold the federal agency accountable in its work to protect the safety of the drugs in our medicine cabinets."

Since 2007, Grassley also has twice filed legislation to dramatically beef up the FDA's foreign inspection operation, including enhanced enforcement for quality and safety violations.  The legislation, which Grassley had introduced with the late Senator Kennedy, hasn't been passed by Congress.  China is one of the largest exporters of pharmaceutical products to the United States.  Following questions raised by Grassley and others in 2007 and 2008 about the inadequate foreign inspections, the FDA has opened an office in China to facilitate inspections.

Below is the text of the letter Grassley sent today to the FDA Commissioner.

February 16, 2010

The Honorable Margaret A. Hamburg


U.S. Food and Drug Administration

10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20993

Dear Commissioner Hamburg:

As Ranking Member of the United States Senate Committee on Finance (Committee), I have a special responsibility to the more than 100 million Americans who receive health care coverage under those programs to ensure that taxpayer and beneficiary dollars are appropriately spent on safe and effective drugs and devices.

In 2007 and 2008, I wrote a series of letters to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA/Agency) inquiring about the Agency's oversight of foreign-made drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).  I appreciate FDA's responses to my letters and look forward to the Agency's continued cooperation.

Almost two years ago, in February 2008, Baxter International (Baxter) had announced that it had temporarily suspended production of its blood thinner heparin because of increased reports of serious adverse events, in particular allergic reactions, associated with the use of its drug.  The company recalled its heparin sodium injection single-dose vials, the remainder of its multiple-dose vials, and the heparin flush products from the market.  Prior to the recall of its products, Baxter manufactured about 50 percent of the heparin used in the United States.  Thus, there were serious concerns about whether or not this country would have enough heparin to meet patient needs.

After several months of investigation, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the adverse events were caused by heparin contaminated with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate.  According to the FDA, this contaminant was found in heparin API produced by Baxter's API supplier in China, Changzhou Scientific Protein Laboratories (SPL), as well as more than 10 other Chinese facilities in the heparin supply chain.  In addition, the Agency revealed that due to human error, the FDA had failed to conduct a pre-approval inspection of Changzhou SPL in accordance with its pre-approval inspections program to ensure compliance with current good manufacturing practices (CGMP).

Despite its own audits and inspections of the API supplier, Baxter did not discover that its heparin API supply was contaminated because the company did not have mechanisms in place to ensure that the upstream providers, such as the crude heparin processors and slaughterhouses, were providing quality product to Changzhou SPL.  Baxter and other heparin manufacturers, however, are not required to have such mechanisms in place.  FDA has stated that API and drug manufacturers "frequently audit suppliers of critical materials" but the audits are not a requirement of the CGMP regulations for finished pharmaceuticals.  Nonetheless, there was one heparin manufacturer, APP Pharmaceuticals, which had a traceable distribution system that did allow it to trace crude heparin from the API supplier to the workshops and pig farms.  That company was able to increase its heparin production capacity and take over as the major supplier for the U.S. market after Baxter's product recalls.

Investigation of the contamination of the U.S. heparin supply in 2008 highlighted the need to improve FDA's protection of the safety of products made in this country and abroad.  In fact, the FDA acknowledged at a press conference on April 21, 2008 that the heparin problem "illustrated the need for [the FDA] to focus on enhanced regulation and scrutiny of the whole supply chain for drugs, including all sources of materials, including the natural sources."  In the Agency's response to me, dated June 5, 2009, the FDA also stated that "Aside from a traceable distribution system, it is imperative that both the API and drug product manufacturer establish and implement procedures and controls to secure and assure the integrity of the supply and distribution chain."

In response to the heparin contamination, the FDA announced a number of efforts it was implementing to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, including the establishment of an FDA presence abroad by opening field offices in China, India and Latin America, as well as the pursuit of international agreements to augment its foreign inspection program.  The FDA also stated that the FDA and international regulators had agreed to hold an inspection summit in 2009 to apply the lessons learned from the heparin contamination.  In addition, the FDA stated in its letter to me that it is collaborating with several pharmaceutical associations "to establish more robust systems and procedures to qualify suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients and assure the identity and purity of batches of incoming ingredients."

I am writing today to follow up on the status of FDA's initiatives to improve its foreign drug inspection program, in particular any efforts to prevent tainted final dosage forms and API from entering this country.  I would also appreciate a response to the following requests:

· A reporting of FDA's plans to ensure the safety and quality of drug products that are imported into this country, including efforts to improve surveillance, technology and testing capabilities, to harmonize regulatory standards and procedures, and to enhance the Agency's regulation of the whole supply chain of drugs.

· If FDA conducted its own assessment of how the Agency handled the heparin contamination, a copy of any report or memorandum generated from that assessment, including any recommendations and lessons learned.

· A status report on FDA's review of reports of adverse events occurring after heparin administration and the number of deaths and adverse events that have been determined to be epidemiologically associated with use of the contaminated product.  During the April 21, 2008 FDA press conference, the Agency stated that there were 81 deaths linked to the allergic reactions that may have been caused by contaminated heparin.  A month earlier, on March 5, 2008, the Agency stated that it had received 785 reports of adverse events.  FDA's webpage on adverse event reports and heparin, last updated July 1, 2009, shows that between January 1, 2007 through May 31, 2008 there were 146 reported deaths that included one or more allergic symptoms that is associated with use of the contaminated heparin.  The webpage, however, does not identify the total number of other adverse events reported to the FDA.

Thank you for your assistance on this important matter.  I would appreciate a response to the requests set forth in this letter by no later than March 2, 2010.


Chuck Grassley

United States Senator

Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance

Senator Encourages Iowans to Tune-in, Ask Questions

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today announced that his monthly call-in show will air live on Wednesday, February 24, from 6:30-7 p.m. (Central Time) on television stations across Iowa.

"Ask Your Senator" will be broadcast from Washington, D.C. and can be seen live in communities served by Mediacom throughout Iowa. The program also airs live in Spencer on channels 22 & 3 and in Sioux City on channel 10.

"This program provides for the two-way dialogue required by our system of representative government," Grassley said. "I hope Iowans will tune in and participate."

Grassley said that it's important to hear from constituents to answer questions or address concerns they may have.

•   Iowans can ask questions during the show by calling 800/736-8255.
•   Questions also can be sent to Grassley using Twitter. Simply add @ChuckGrassley to
your twitter message and include your name and location in Iowa.

Grassley also provides taped versions of the show to local cable access channels that aren't able to air the program live. To receive a copy of the program, local cable access providers should contact Grassley's office.

"Ask Your Senator: A Live Town Meeting" will air on the following channels:

Channel 5
Britt, Charles City, Clear Lake, Cresco, Duncan, Elma, Forest City, Garner, Kensett, Leland, Lime Springs, Manly, Mason City, Northwood, Osage, Ventura

Channel 14
Hampton, Rockwell, Sheffield

Channel 22
Ackley, Adel, Agency, Albia, Algona, Alta, Altoona, Amana, Ames, Anamosa, Ankeny, Aplington, Appanoose, Arnolds Park, Asbury, Atalissa, Atlantic, Audubon, Avoca, Bancroft, Barnum, Beacon, Beaman, Bedford, Belle Plaine, Belmond, Bertram, Bettendorf, Bloomfield, Blue Grass, Bondurant, Boone, Booneville, Buena Vista, Buffalo, Buffalo-Center, Burlington, Burt, Bussey, Calhoun, Calmar, Camanche, Carlisle, Carroll, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Centerville, Chariton, Charlotte, Cherokee, Clarinda, Clarion, Clayton, Clinton, Clive, Colfax, Columbus City, Columbus Junction, Conrad, Coralville, Corning, Corydon, Creston, Dakota City, Dallas Center, Dallas, Danville, Davenport, De Soto, Decatur City, Decorah, Deleware City, Denison, Denver, Des Moines, Dewar, Dewitt, Dexter, Dike, Dubuque, Durant, Dyersville, Dysart, Eagle Grove, Earlham, Eddyville, Edgewood, Eldon, Eldora, Eldridge, Elgin, Elk Run Heights, Elkader, Emmetsburg, Epworth, Essex, Estherville, Evansdale, Fairbank, Fairfax, Fairfield, Farley, Fayette, Fort Dodge, Fort Madison, Fredericksburg, Fredonia, Ft. Atkinson, Garnavillo, Garwin, Gilbertville, Gilmore City, Gladbrook, Glenwood, Glidden, Goose Lake, Granger, Green Mountain, Greenfield, Grimes, Grinnell, Grundy Center, Guttenberg, Hamilton, Hardin, Harlan, Harper's Ferry, Harris, Hartford, Hazleton, Hiawatha, Hills, Hudson, Humboldt, Huxley, Independence, Indianola, Iowa Army Munitions, Iowa City, Iowa Falls, Janesville, Johnson, Johnston, Kalona, Kellerton, Keokuk, Keota, Knoxville, Kossuth, Lake City, Lake Park, Lakeside, Lambs Grove, Lamoni, Lansing, Laporte, Laurens, Le Claire, Le Grand, Leon, Lisbon, Lone Tree, Long Grove, Lovilia, Low Moor, Lynnville, Madrid, Manchester, Manson, Maquoketa, Marengo, Marion, Marquette, Marshalltown, Maynard, McCausland, McGregor, Melcher, Middletown, Miles, Mills County, Mitchellville, Monroe, Monticello, Montrose, Morning Sun, Mount Joy, Mt. Ayr, Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Vernon, Nevada, New Albin, New Hampton, New Hartford, New London, New Sharon, Newhall, Newton, North English, North Liberty, Norwalk, Norway, Oelwein, Okaboji, Orleans, Osceola, Oskaloosa, Ossian, Ottumwa, Oxford Junction, Oxford, Panorama Park, Park View, Parkersburg, Pella, Perry, Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Valley, Pleasantville, Pocahontas, Polk City, Prairie City, Preston, Princeton, Randall, Raymond, Red Oak, Redfield, Reinbeck, Riverdale, Riverside, Rockwell City, Sabula, Sac City, Sageville, Sheldahl, Shell Rock, Shenandoah, Shueyville, Sigourney, Slater, Solon, Spillville, Spirit Lake, Storm Lake, Story City, Strawberry Point, Stuart, Sully, Sumner, Swea City, Swisher, Tama, Tiffin, Tipton, Toddville, Toledo, Traer, University Heights, University Park, Urbandale, Van Meter, Villisca, Vinton, West Okaboji, Wahpeton, Walcott, Washburn, Washington, Waterloo, Waukee, Waukon Junction, Waukon, Waverly, Wellman, West Branch, West Burlington, West Des Moines, West Liberty, West Point, West Union, Westwood, What Cheer, Williamsburg, Windsor Heights, Winterset, Woodburn, Woodward

Q:        What internship opportunities do you offer to Iowa students?

A: I strongly encourage and welcome college-age Iowans to intern in my Washington and Iowa offices.  Internships are available during the spring and fall semesters and for two six-week summer sessions.  Internships are an excellent educational opportunity where students get first-hand exposure to the legislative branch and learn about the process of representative government that's at the heart of America's democracy.  Depending on the college, these internships may qualify for course credit.  Internships also are an excellent way for young people to gain work experience in an area of interest.  More than half of the current permanent staff members in my office were interns.

Q:        What type of work do interns do?

A: Interns get put to work in my office.  They're assigned their own desks and responsibilities.  Duties include assisting permanent staff members in the administrative, legislative and communications departments, as well as the staff I hire for the Finance and Judiciary committees in the Senate.  Tasks include scheduling appointments, giving Capitol tours, answering phones, organizing press clippings, helping constituents with questions, drafting letters to government agencies, researching issues and policy proposals, and more.

Q:        How do students apply for your internships?

A: Interested students should visit http://grassley.senate.gov, print out a form, and send applications to cory_crowley@grassley.senate.gov or 202-224-6020 (fax).  Applying by email or fax avoids security-related delays in postal mail delivery to the U.S. Senate office buildings.  Also, my offices in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Sioux City and Waterloo, as well as the placement offices of Iowa colleges and universities, all have copies of Grassley internship application forms.  The application deadline for Summer 2010 internships is March 15, 2010.  I hope many students consider an internship.  If you have questions, please call my internship coordinator, Cory Crowley, at 202-224-3744.


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) sent a letter to President Obama today supporting Governor Culver's request that two federal disaster declarations be issued for areas of Iowa affected by December's blizzards and January's ice storms.

"These storms severely damaged businesses, homes and roads, isolating many rural residents and putting the welfare of thousands in jeopardy,"
Senator Harkin said. "Resources and manpower have been exhausted at the local, county and state level, and so I am urging the President to declare the affected counties disaster areas so that we can recover."

Iowa has had an unusually brutal winter, logging the most snowfall in over one hundred years and extremely low temperatures.  The counties requesting a federal disaster declaration are Adair, Audubon, Calhoun, Cherokee, Fremont,  Carroll, Emmet, Guthrie, Buena Vista, Cass, Franklin, Harrison, Ida, Monona, Palo Alto, Sac, Sioux, Madison, Lyon, Osceola, Pocahontas, Woodbury, Mills, Page, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Crawford.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today asked President Barack Obama to grant requests made by the state of Iowa for federal assistance after several severe storms ransacked much of the state in December 2009 and January 2010.

"Parts of Iowa were brought to a standstill after ice and snow covered the state.  Iowans have had a terrible time restoring power and digging out after record snowfall and ice storms moved through," Grassley said.  "Quick approval of the requested assistance would go a long way in helping Iowans recover from these record storms."

Grassley sent separate letters on the state's requests.  A copy of the text of the letter regarding the January storm is below.  Copies of both letters can be found on Grassley's website.

January 29, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States of America

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I respectfully ask that you grant the request made January 28, 2010 by Iowa Governor Chet Culver for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Iowa as a result of damages from a severe winter storm that began January 19 and continued through January 26, 2010.  The Governor determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments to handle effectively and federal assistance is needed.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.


Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator



WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded competitive grants totaling $1,544,834 to Iowa Fire Departments through the Assistance to Firefighters Grants' Operations and Safety and Vehicle Acquisition Programs.

"Day in and day out, firefighters put their lives on the line for the good of the community," Grassley said. "It's important that firefighters have the necessary equipment and training to help keep the community safe."

FEMA will distribute the money as shown below ordered alphabetically by town.

Through the Operations and Safety Program:

· Ames Fire Department in Ames will receive $46,591.

· Anamosa Volunteer Fire Department in Anamosa will receive $28,975.

· Bellevue Volunteer Fire Department in Bellevue will receive $93,338.

· Chester Fire Department in Chester will receive $32,640.

· Coggon Fire Department in Coggon will receive $30,482.

· Coin Fire and Rescue in Coin will receive $79,800.

· Douds Community Fire Department in Douds will receive $17,775.

· Elliott Volunteer Fire Department in Elliott will receive $8,550.

· Farmersburg Volunteer Fire Company in Farmersburg will receive $15,675.

· Frederika Volunteer Fire Department in Frederika will receive $45,033.

· Garrison Fire Department in Garrison will receive $5,320.

· Geneva Fire Department in Geneva will receive $23,361.

· Grand Mound Volunteer Fire Company in Grand Mound will receive $36,262.

· Marcus Fire Department in Marcus will receive $32,437.

· Meriden Volunteer Fire Department in Meriden will receive $6,012.

· Amana Benefited Fire District in Middle Amana will receive $127,103.

· Morning Sun Fire Department in Morning Sun will receive $75,150.

· Newton Fire Department in Newton will receive $54,390.

· Panama/Washington Township will receive $33,250.

· Pulaski Volunteer Fire Department in Pulaski will receive $38,885.

· Victor Fire Department in Victor will receive $47,358.

· Washta Fire Service in Washta will receive $33,155.

· Welton Volunteer Fire Company in Welton will receive $40,480.

Through the Vehicle Acquisition Program:

· Batavia Volunteer Fire Department in Batavia will receive $154,850.

· Douds Community Fire Department in Douds will receive $58,095.

· Indiana Township Fire Department in Knoxville will receive $142,500.

· McCallsburg-Warren Township Fire/EMS Agency in McCallsburg will receive $123,367.

· Winfield Benefited Fire District in Winfield will receive $114,000.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grants Operations and Safety Program supplements training, equipment, personal protective equipment, wellness and fitness, and health and safety modifications to stations and facilities.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grants Vehicle Acquisition Program helps purchase vehicles including, but not limited to, pumpers, aerials, quints, brush trucks, tankers/tenders, rescue vehicles, ambulances, foam units and fireboats.


WASHINGTON - Senator Chuck Grassley today announced that Iowa has received a $2,248,320 competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs through the State Veterans Home Grant program.  The program provides up to 65 percent of the cost of construction or acquisition of state nursing homes or domiciliaries or for renovations to existing state veterans homes.

"The Iowa Veterans Home improves the quality of life for those who have proudly served our country," Grassley said.  "These funds will expand the facilities for our veterans and help the Iowa Veterans Home continue to provide the services our veterans need in a way both deserving and honoring of our nation's finest."

The money will help expand the dining and activity room at the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.

The Iowa Veterans Home is one of the three largest state-owned facilities for veterans in the country.  It is home to more than 720 residents.