President Bush urged the U.S. Congress to pass legislation aimed at giving the American economy a boost. The President's appeal came as a prestigious group of economists from around the nation declared the United States is in a recession.
The six economists who make up the National Bureau of Economic Research said the United States actually went into an economic recession back in March.
The news did not come as a total surprise to President Bush. He said he knew from the moment he took office in January that the economy was in trouble.
The President said that is why he is pushing Congress to pass an economic stimulus package that includes more tax cuts."That tax relief plan is going to be part of an economic recovery package that will make sense for the long term of the country," he said.
Administration officials stressed that the underpinnings of the economy are strong. They point, for example, to retail sales figures that show Americans are stepping up their holiday season purchases.
Mr. Bush found still more reasons to be optimistic about the future."We've got low interest rates. We've got reasonable energy prices. We've got good tax policy in place. We've got the framework for economic recovery,"he said.
The House of Representatives, with its Republican majority, sided with the President on the size and composition of a plan to boost the economy. However, there are differences in the Senate where Democrats want less reliance on tax cuts and more direct help for unemployed workers.
President Bush said he wants them to come up with an acceptable solution within the next month. He said he wants to sign an economic stimulus bill before Christmas.