WASHINGTON — While he expects it’ll be a late night with a lot of applause breaks, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s looking forward to President Trump’s State of the Union Address.
Grassley, a Republican, says the president has accomplished much in his first year and has plenty to crow about in the speech. “I think he’s going to highlight a lot of positive things that come from the tax reform bill,” Grassley says. “I think he’s going to brag legitimately about three-million Americans receiving a special tax reform bonus in their paycheck.”
Unemployment is down while stocks and our 401-Ks are up, Grassley says, bringing more reasons for optimism. Grassley expects the president will talk about federal judges and the “historic” 13 appellate court judges confirmed in 2017, more in the first year of a presidency than ever before. Grassley notes, however, 145 vacancies remain in the courts.
“Trade issues, the importance of agricultural trade in the renegotiation of NAFTA,” Grassley says. “I hope he’ll give some assurance to the farmers of Iowa that they won’t be hurt. I expect Trump will also talk about the plan for rebuilding our infrastructure.” Grassley expects the president to address his views on immigration and he may also discuss the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s role in our last national election.
“I would hope that he would only say that Mueller should finish his work and that he is counting on a good result for him as a result of it, but nothing more,” Grassley says. “I hope he expresses confidence in Mueller’s work.” As far as the traditions of the State of the Union, Grassley, who’s 84 years old, says he could live happily without one of them — as he’s an early riser.
“Quite frankly, there’s too much of this standing up and applauding,” Grassley says. “For a guy like me that goes to bed at 9 o’clock at night so that I can run at 4 in the morning, it’s starting out at 9 when I should be sleeping. It’s a serious thing so I hope that we can not waste a half hour standing up and applauding.”
Grassley says he’s heard the reports about some Congressional Democrats who plan to skip tonight’s address in protest. He says there may be eight or nine empty seats but doesn’t think their absence will have any impact.