Charles Ernest Grassley is an American politician serving as the president pro tempore emeritus of the United States Senate, and the senior United States senator from Iowa, having held the seat since 1981. In 2022, he was reelected to his eighth Senate term, having first been elected in 1980.
A member of the Republican Party, Grassley served eight terms in the Iowa House of Representatives (1959–1975) and three terms in the United States House of Representatives (1975–1981). He has served three stints as Senate Finance Committee chairman during periods of Republican Senate majority. When Orrin Hatch's Senate term ended on January 3, 2019 following his retirement, Grassley became the most senior Republican in the Senate and its president pro tempore.
During his four decades in the Senate, Grassley has chaired the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Narcotics Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Aging Committee.
Early life and education
Grassley was born in New Hartford, Iowa, the son of Ruth (née Corwin) and Louis Arthur Grassley, and raised on a farm. He graduated from the town high school. At Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa), he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1955 and a Master of Arts in political science in 1956. During his time as a student, Grassley joined the social-professional Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He pursued a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Iowa, but ultimately did not complete the degree.
During the 1950s, Grassley farmed and worked in factories in Iowa, first as a sheet metal shearer and then as an assembly line worker. From 1967 to 1968, he taught at Charles City College.
Grassley represented parts of Butler County in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1959 to 1975. He then served in the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981.