Reviews of last night’s State of the Union address vary from good to bad depending on the political party of the reviewer. Republican Congressman Tom Latham says President Bush did an “outstanding job” in his discussions of the economy and the war on terror, though Democrat Senator Tom Harkin blasted Bush for health care resolutions Harkin says are unrealistic. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the address was upbeat and positive and filled with “justified optimism” based on the growth in the economy. Senator Harkin says the “trip to Mars is a nice idea but ordinary Americans have much more down to earth worries, such as affording a trip to the doctor.” Senator Grassley says “Bush’s attention to making health care affordable and available to all Americans is critical.” Grassley says it was refreshing to hear the president’s message after so much negative rhetoric was spouted by the Democrat presidential candidates who invaded Iowa the past several months. He says he’s not surprised the democrats are negative about the president’s speech because he says the democrats are expressing doom and gloom, while the president is talking about the rising sun over our country.Some Midwestern Congressmen complained about Bush’s lack of discussion of the beef industry, and no mention at all of agriculture. Grassley says he didn’t need to hear the President comment on Mad Cow disease, saying the U-S-D-A and Ag Secretary Ann Venemen are “on top of the issue” and are “moving forward.” Grassley contends, Bush -did- talk about agriculture, without singling out farmers.Congressman Latham says Bush’s initiatives for “economic growth and prosperity and job creation were very, very good,” while Democrat Congressman Leonard Boswell said the huge debt burden will grow by one-half-trillion dollars this year. Boswell says “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to return to a federal budget that lives within its means while providing economic stability and investments in our future.” He says every school district in the country has fiscal problems as do cities and counties. He says he appreciates the good news that the economy is picking up, but he says he doesn’t see the impact of it.Congressman Boswell says a recent study from the non-partisan Concord Coalition found the average American family of four has 96-thousand dollars worth of debt. He says we’re “paddling upstream to some real difficult times here” as the deficit goes even higher. Boswell says the President needed to spend more time talking about education.Boswell says the “Leave No Child Behind” legislation has become an unfunded mandate that schools cannot afford. Congressman Jim Nussle, the Iowa republican who heads the House Budget Committee, says the spending details won’t come ’til February when the President submits a suggested budget outline to Congress, Nussle says then lawmakers will have an idea of how the President plans to pay for any new initiatives. Nussle hopes to see some cuts or shifts in federal spending to account for new spending priorities. If the President doesn’t, Nussle says he will make some budget cuts.Nussle says there’s been deficit spending over the past few years because of the war on terrorism. Nussle says it was important, too, to fuel the economy by ramping up federal spending. Now, Nussle says it’s time to start talking about reducing the deficit, but he admits it’ll take about a decade to get the federal budget back in the black.
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