Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding this hearing, and I join you in welcoming Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan today for his Semi-Annual Monetary Policy Report. Chairman Greenspan, over the years the economy has benefited greatly from your leadership at the Federal Reserve. In these uncertain times, experience and steadiness at the helm of the central bank are particularly important. We are grateful for your continued service.
In recent months we have witnessed some mixed messages from our economic indicators. I was pleased to see that last month unemployment fell three tenths of a percent from December and that home sales and residential construction remain at high levels. However, at the same time, rising energy costs place a strain on the economy and adverse weather has harmed agricultural production.
The Federal Reserves January Current Market Conditions Report quoted a Charlotte, North Carolina contact which summed up conditions in commercial real estate sector as "slow to partly cloudy."
With these issues in mind, my colleagues and I look forward to your thoughts on the current state of the economy and its potential. In addition, I hope we have the benefit of your views regarding the President's tax package and its ability to stimulate the economy. I know you agree that tax stimulus is a necessary component of economic recovery, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.
While all of us agree that the American economy needs a push in the right direction there is some disagreement among my colleagues on the best way to achieve this goal. I hope in the months ahead we can work together to take the necessary steps in the right direction. Your report today will help us focus on the fundamentals as we move forward.
Chairman Greenspan, I look forward to working with you and the Federal Reserve in the years to come to achieve sustainable long-term growth.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time.