The Bush administration will have to do a better job of persuading the public that a Middle Eastern company should manage six major American ports, Sen. Charles Grassley said.
Grassley said Congress has urged a 45-day delay in allowing the takeover.
"If there were a vote today, it would be overwhelmingly rejected by the Congress," he said.
As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, his views carry considerable weight on the issue, which is shaping up to be the first major showdown between Bush and a GOP-controlled Congress.
Ominously, for the administration, Grassley said he's hearing from constituents worried about the potential for another terrorist attack
"What came up at each one of my 15 town meetings this week is the fear of terrorism getting in if an Arab nation is managing our ports," he said.