Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was at President Bush’s side Wednesday as the President visited Cedar Rapids for a town hall meeting on Social Security. As the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Grassley is key to any changes happening in the system. The Republican from New Hartford says the President is going about it the right way in taking the message to the American people. He says, “One of the rules of politics is repetition, to get a message out, a consistent message. The President is doing that for 60 days.” Grassley says at the end of the 60 days the President will say “you know about it, the people know about it, what are you going to do about it.” Grassley said last week that he thought there’d be a 50-50 chance of getting any changes passed. He says he’ll re-evaluate that after the President finishes his 60-day campaign. He says it’s at that point that he has to draw a conclusion whether it’s still 50-50. But he says “even if it’s only 40-60 negative, I’m not going to give up an opportunity to make this issue an issue in Congress.” The President focused heavily on a change that would let people put some of their money in personal accounts — while Grassley has focused more on making Social Security solvent for the future. But he says that doesn’t mean he’s at odds with the President. Grassley says he does that “for the simple reason that the Democrats were getting a free ride by focusing everything on personal accounts. And they know there’s a solvency issue out there.” Grassley says everything is on the table as far as he’s concerned. Grassley talks about his role now that the President has made his pitch in Iowa. He says the role is “what a Senator typically has a problem doing.” He says it’s to continue the work he’s done for several years on Social Security, but he says this time he needs to put together a bipartisian committee to get it passed. President Bush frequently praised Grassley in his remarks during his visit to Cedar Rapids. And Bush referred to Grassley several times as “the Chairman” in recognition of the Senator’s committee position.
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