President Bush says the U.S. economy was wounded by the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He is urging Congress to approve $60 to $75 billion in government help to prevent a steep recession. Mr. Bush made the comments after talks with business leaders in New York City.
They met in a building not far from the rubble of the World Trade Center.
It was the President's second visit to the area since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The first trip was a time to mourn. But as he sat down with leaders of the business community, Mr. Bush was looking forward.
He said the economy - locally and nationally - is in dire need of repair. "I know there are people hurting in America," he said. "There are people who have lost their jobs. But as I assured these leaders, our government will do everything to get our economy growing and to make it as strong as possible."
Mr. Bush said the events of September 11 shocked the economy, just as they shocked the conscience of the nation. But he said the underpinnings of the economy are strong - as strong as the spirit of the American people. "I am saddened by the sight of the World Trade Center once again," said President Bush. "But through my tears, I do see a much better future for the country. This is a great nation. It is an entrepreneurial nation."
The White House envisions an economic stimulus package made up of several components. They range from tax cuts to extra assistance for workers who lose their jobs. The business leaders who met with the President offered strong words of support. Kenneth Chenault - the head of American Express - spoke for the group. "What happened here is a very close partnership that exists between the private sector and the public sector because we are all in this together," he said.
After the meeting, President Bush went to a city school to talk to a group of young children. Spokesman Ari Fleischer said Mr. Bush is especially concerned about the impact the events of September 11 have had on youngsters. He said the President wanted to talk to them about what they are thinking and feeling in the aftermath of the deadliest terrorist attacks in United States history.