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Grassley Clarifies 'Booze or Women or Movies' Comment as Progressive Groups Plan Protests

chuck grassley
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo
Sen. Chuck Grassley

Progressive groups are protesting outside of Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Des Moines and Waterloo offices Tuesday evening because of a comment he made related to the estate tax.

Grassley told The Des Moines Register scaling back the estate tax would recognize people who are investing as opposed to "those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies." The comment went viral on social media.

In a call with reporters Tuesday, Grassley said the story was fair.

"I think the people that are commenting think that I’m making bad comments about people that live from paycheck to paycheck. Not at all," Grassley says.  

Grassley says he was trying to make the point that the estate tax, which only affects multi-million-dollar estates, unfairly punishes people who save and invest.

Asked if he regrets the comment, Grassley said, "Well, I suppose I could’ve said buying new cars and going to the movies, and it would be the same thing."

A news release from the Iowa Citizen Action Network says, "Not only is his comment sexist and elitist, it shows just how far removed he has become from the hardworking Iowans he is supposed to represent." 

The scaling-back of the estate tax is included in the GOP plan to change the tax code. The House and Senate still have to reconcile the differences between their tax bills, and Grassley says they should have a bill on the president's desk before Dec. 25.