February 24,2009

Senator Grassley’s comment following President Obama’s speech to Congress

Embargoed for release after President Obama’s speech to Congress.


TO: Reporters and Editors
RE: Grassley react to the President’s speech to Congress
DA: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Senator Chuck Grassley commented tonight on President Barack Obama’s speech
to Congress. Senator Grassley is the Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance,
which is responsible for legislation on tax, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, social
services, and international trade. He is also a senior member of the Judiciary and Budget
committees, and he is a member of the Agriculture Committee.

Senator Grassley’s comment:

“I hope tonight’s speech marks a turning point for the new administration, that the
new kind of bipartisan leadership the President promised in his campaign materializes,
rather than the take-it-or-leave-it, we-won-the-election attitude of Democratic leaders in
Congress, which resulted in an economic stimulus bill that was more about specialinterest
spending than economic stimulus. Bipartisanship takes hard work, and it starts at
the beginning of the legislative process, at the discussion and drafting tables, not at the
end of the process when the camera lights are on.

“Taxpayers are being asked for a lot right now, and there’s danger that the
excesses of Washington will match, or even out-do, the excesses of Wall Street. The
current administration inherited a $1 trillion deficit, and in its first month added another
$1 trillion to the debt with its economic stimulus bill. The bill included new and
expanded entitlement programs, and if they’re made permanent, they’ll add at least
another $2 trillion to the deficit.

“Our success in fixing America’s long-term fiscal problems will define the quality
of life we leave for our grandkids just as much as the way we handle the current
economic crisis. The goal of a sustainable budget policy ought to be woven through the
very important upcoming debates on health care, education, agriculture and energy.
Taxpayers and beneficiaries of federal programs deserve both fiscal responsibility and
accountability. And every American deserves rigorous and relentless oversight of the
$700 billion effort to stabilize the financial system and the $800 billion effort to stimulate
the economy.

“Beyond the policy debates, the President can do good by expressing confidence
in the future and help to give Americans the fortitude we need to weather this economic
crisis and come out of it stronger than we were before, as we have done time and again in
our country’s 233-year history.”