In Bush’s final address, familiar will trump the bold
Economy: This will be a dominant theme, offering Bush one more chance to reassure a jittery nation that better days are ahead. Bush will ask Congress to make permanent the tax cuts set to expire in 2010. He is expected to urge swift passage of a $150 billion economic stimulus package of tax rebates and other measures, which House of Representatives leaders and the White House – but not yet the Senate – have agreed to, according to White House officials and others.
National security: The president will press for extension of a law that allows expanded electronic eavesdropping. The law expires Friday.
Iraq: Bush is expected to tout security improvements and restate that more U.S. troops will come home only as conditions merit. He will likely argue that the “surge” of nearly 30,000 additional U.S. troops has improved Iraq’s security. Given the military progress there and the Democrats’ inability to force a change in strategy in 2007, he has more support in this area than a year ago.
Foreign affairs: The president will promote the U.S.-backed Middle East peace effort and his administration’s efforts to fight AIDS and hunger in the developing world, particularly in Africa.
Other topics: Bush will highlight policies he believes he can implement “without congressional involvement.” Those include revisions in the Federal Housing Administration that he asked for in 2006. He’ll likely ask Congress to extend the No Child Left Behind initiative. He may revisit alternative energy, affordable health care and housing reform.