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State of the Union - "Two out of Three Ain't Bad" for NH?

January 22, 2007

President Bush's State of the Union address is expected to cover health care and global warming, two topics at the top of the list in a recent survey by University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center on what Americans want Congress to spend money on. But the other big speech topic, Iraq, is a touchier subject, according to the survey and Steve Varnum with Priorities New Hampshire.

"I think it's really unusual that we would be in a time of war, and Americans would be clamoring for less defense spending."

Varnum explains years of surveys show the public has always wanted more investment in education, health, and poverty relief as part of the "top five," but the budget that gets passed always puts defense spending at the top.

"Unfortunately, when Congress goes to carve up its discretionary budget, those items are not in the top five."

The other top spending priority in the survey is education. Varnum notes more than half the federal discretionary budget goes to defense spending, not including spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, which is in a separate budget.

More info about the survey at

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NH