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Bush:  US Economic Report is 'Good News' - 2002-04-26

President Bush says he is pleased by a government report showing U.S. economic growth,, but adds there is still more work to do to ensure that long-term growth continues.

Commerce Department economists reported Friday that the value of all goods and services produced in the United States grew nearly six percent in the first quarter of 2002.

President Bush says that is good news for a country recovering from recession. "That's a very encouraging sign for American workers and American families," he said. "Yet, as encouraging as this number is, I am not content. We've got more to do."

The president says his record tax cuts last year helped ease the pain of the recent recession by increasing consumer spending. He wants Congress to make those cuts permanent, a move opposed by some Democrats who fear the deficit is growing faster than expected.

Mr. Bush met with his economic team Friday following the Commerce Department report, and said it is important to encourage this "short-term swing" in the economy.

He said he is looking forward to working with both houses of Congress to resolve their differences over an energy plan that he says will lead to more investment and more jobs.

The president also wants legislators to give him the power to negotiate overseas trade deals that would be put to Congress for a simple yes-or-no vote without amendment. "A second way to encourage long-term growth is to give me Trade Promotion Authority," the president said. "Allow me to negotiate trade agreements which will open up markets for U.S. manufactured products, as well as products produced by American farmers and entrepreneurs."

The president says Congress must hold down spending by staying within his budget. He also wants legislators to pass a measure that would have the federal government help provide terrorism insurance. "One of our concerns is that, as a result of people not being able to get proper insurance against terrorist acts, capital construction projects in the private sector that normally would go forward haven't done so, so far," he said.

Commerce officials say the 5.8 percent growth in the first quarter of the year is the largest rise in gross domestic product since the last quarter of 1999, leading some analysts to conclude that the recession, which began in March of last year, will turn out to be one of the mildest in U.S. history.