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Bush Praises US Economy in Weekly Radio Address

President Bush says the U.S. economy is growing faster than expected.

President Bush says his record tax cuts have helped turn the economy around with more than four million new jobs since May of 2003.

"Small businesses are flourishing.  Workers are taking home more of what they earn," said President Bush.  "Real disposable personal income has grown by over 12 percent since the end of 2000.  Inflation is low and mortgage rates are low.  And over the past year, the home ownership rate in America has reached record levels."

Government employment figures released Friday show that U.S. employers added more than 200,000 new jobs in July, with the unemployment rate holding steady at about five percent.

President Bush says he is ahead of pace to meet the goal of cutting the budget deficit in half by 2009 as increased revenue and spending restraint have cut the projected deficit by $94 billion.

The president meets with his economic team on his Texas ranch this coming Tuesday for meetings that he says will focus on keeping the economy moving forward.

When Congress returns to work after its August recess, President Bush says he will push for a simplified tax code and legal reforms to protect small business from unnecessary lawsuits.

In the Democratic radio address, Georgia Congressman John Lewis reflected on the 40-year-old Voting Rights Act, which legally ended most of the racial barriers to voting in the United States.

Civil rights leaders are protesting a law passed by Georgia's Republican-controlled legislature requiring voters to produce one of six forms of photo identification before voting.

Congressman Lewis says Democrats will push for the full reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, which is set to expire next year. One of its provisions requires mostly southern states to get pre-approval from the Justice Department for any change in voting rules that might affect minorities.  Georgia's new law requires such a ruling. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has not yet announced a decision on the issue.

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