- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2008

UPDATED:

President Bush on Tuesday morning promised the nation and the world that an economic rescue package will be passed through Congress, but also pleaded with lawmakers on Capitol Hill who rejected a plan Monday to act swiftly.

“For the financial security of every American, Congress must act,” Mr. Bush said, in a roughly three-minute statement at the White House, 45 minutes before the stock market opening.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index opened up by 180 points on Tuesday morning, one day after falling by almost 800 points after the House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion rescue plan.

Text of Bush’s Tuesday statement

“We’re at a critical moment in our economy,” Mr. Bush said. “The reality is that we’re in an urgent situation and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act.”

Mr. Bush reiterated that he was “disappointed” with the previous day’s, but voiced confidence that a bill will still be passed.

“I assure our citizens, and citizens around the world, that this is not the end of the legislative process,” he said. “Bruising legislation is complicated and it can be contentious. It matters little what path a bill takes to become law. What matters is that we get a law.”

Much of the opposition to the plan so far has come from conservatives in the president’s own party, who say the enormous government intervention in the economy will put America on the road to overwhelming government control of people’s lives.

But Mr. Bush, who made phone calls to individual lawmakers Monday in an unsuccessful attempt to sway them, made his case publicly that economic disaster awaits if there is no plan passed.

“As much as we might wish the situation were different, our country is not facing a choice between government action and the smooth functioning of the free market,” he said. “We’re facing a choice between action and the real prospect of economic hardship for millions of Americans.”

Mr. Bush also said that while $700 billion is a lot of money, Monday’s stock market plunge represented about a trillion dollars in losses for the economy.

Continued market nosedives will decimate retirement funds, pensions, and could ultimately cost jobs, the president said.

Congress is out of session Tuesday for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana. The president said he and top administration officials would be meeting and talking to members to seek a solution on Wednesday.


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