- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2008

UPDATED:

President Bush on Monday morning thanked Congress for working through the weekend to reach a deal on a $700 billion economic rescue plan, and urged them to pass the legislation quickly.

“Congress can send a strong signal to markets at home and abroad by passing this bill promptly,” Mr. Bush said, speaking to reporters on the south lawn at the White House.

“Every member of Congress and every American should keep in mind, a vote for this bill is a vote to prevent economic damage for you and your community,” Mr. Bush said.

Mr. Bush lauded the final product agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats in Congress as a “bold bill that will help keep the crisis in the financial system from spreading throughout our economy.”

The president said he understands the concern of taxpayers about the enormous price tag, but that over the long run, the plan to buy up bad credit will cost “far less” than $700 billion.

“In fact, we expect that over time, much if not all of the tax dollars we invest will be paid back,” he said.

The House is expected to vote Monday on the plan, and the Senate is expected to vote Tuesday, though there is still resistance to the plan in both parties.

The deal Sunday evening followed a week of intense negotiations and high political drama on Capitol Hill and at the White House, which included the announcement of a deal Thursday followed by a revolt among House Republicans which sent everyone back to the drawing table.

Mr. Bush said congressional leaders “from both sides of the aisle came together when our nation was counting on them.”

“With this strong and decisive legislation, we will help restart the flow of credit, so American families can meet their daily needs, and American businesses can make purchases, ship goods and meet their payrolls,” Mr. Bush said. “We will make clear that the United States is serious about restoring confidence and stability in our financial system.”

But there is uncertainty about whether even this enormous government intervention will be enough to stave off continued deterioration in the markets and in the wider economy.

The president acknowledged this, saying that the U.S. “will continue to face serious challenges.”

“I’m confident that in the long run, America will overcome these challenges and remain the most dynamic and productive economy in the world.”

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