While Grassley says he’ll attend with optimism, he doubts the president will focus on the topics he’d prefer.
“I’d like to hear how he’s going to increase the income of the middle class,” Grassley says. “I’d like to have him suggest less regulation, less taxes, less spending, so that we can encourage more private investment which increases jobs.”
Grassley, a Republican, says he sees a pattern in the mindset of the Democrats in power.
“What this country needs, contrary to what this administration’s done, which is more taxes, more regulation and more spending,” Grassley says, “we need to encourage job creation, we don’t need more taxes, higher tax rates, etcetera, we need more taxpayers.”
A report Grassley quotes finds only 62% of the U.S. population is now part of the workforce, the lowest number since records on the subject were first kept.
Aides to the president say he’ll be focusing the address on his entire presidency, not just his legislative agenda for the year ahead. Grassley was hoping the president would use the occasion to spark a fire under Congress for action on key issues but realizes it’s an election year.
“Now, I think what you’re going to hear though is all about his legacy,” Grassley says. “You’re going to hear a lot of rhetoric about how he envisions what he has done already that’s going to do something miraculous in the next five years and how he’s going to envision the country over the next five years.”
The State of the Union is scheduled for 8 PM Central time.