President Bush will deliver his fifth State of the Union address tonight and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’ll be in the Capitol to hear it first-hand. Grassley, a Republican, says he looks forward to hearing the president’s views on the war in Iraq, the war on terror, health care costs and a variety of other topics.
Grassley says “I’m particularly interested in hearing about domestic issues that have to do with high energy costs, any new ideas on renewable fuels, ethanol, helping the uninsured that don’t have health insurance, permanency of the tax cuts, things that will keep the economy going very strong.” A Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” released today shows President Bush’s support is failing, both nationally and statewide.
The state poll finds 61-percent of Iowans think the nation is on the wrong track, with 59-percent saying they’re unhappy with the job Bush is doing as president. Grassley says he doesn’t put a lot of stock in such opinion polls. Grassley says “Polls don’t seem to see that the public reflects the highest level of employment in the history of the country, one of the lowest levels of unemployment, very moderate interest rates, more housing ownerships than ever before in the history of our country as a percentage of the population.” Grassley says he understands the uncertainty may be tied to people’s concerns about the economy and the skyrocketing costs of natural gas to heat their homes and gasoline.
Speaking of the economy, today’s meeting of the Federal Reserve Board will be the -last- with Alan Greenspan as chairman. Greenspan is retiring after more than 18 years in the post. Grassley says Ben Bernanke is “well qualified” to take over but Greenspan will be missed. Grassley says “The American people, particularly those that have to invest to create jobs, have a terrific amount of confidence in Chairman Greenspan…even when the economy might not be as stable as people would like it to be, he brings a great deal of stability to it because of the confidence they have in him.”
Grassley says he hopes Bernanke will, with a little time, be able to “fill the void” left by Greenspan’s retirement. In today’s action, the Fed is expected to raise a key interest rate by a quarter-point.