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Bush Urges Senate to Approve Research Funding

President Bush says the U.S. economy is strong, and he wants Congress to keep it that way by boosting funding for research into new technologies. Opposition Democrats, meanwhile, say the president's plan to change the federal retirement system would increase government debt.

President Bush says a growing economy is creating jobs and delivering prosperity to more Americans. In his weekly radio address, he said workers are keeping more of what they earn because of his tax cuts.

To ensure continued growth, Mr. Bush says, he wants Congress to make those cuts permanent.

"Our economic expansion is lifting the lives of millions of Americans, and to keep this expansion going, we must maintain the pro-growth, low-tax policies that helped to launch it in the first place," said Mr. Bush. "The tax relief we delivered has helped unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of America, and kept our economy the envy of the world. So, I will continue to work with Congress to make that tax relief permanent."

The president also wants Congress to double federal funding for research into emerging technologies, including supercomputing and alternative energy sources. He says that will encourage bolder private sector investment, and help ensure that American children have the math and science skills needed for the jobs of the future.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives last month approved funding for the basic research component of what the president calls his American Competitiveness Initiative. Mr. Bush wants the Senate to do the same.

Opposition Democrats say a Republican plan to privatize the federal retirement program threatens economic growth.

In the Democratic radio address, Iowa Congressional candidate Bruce Braley said Republican plans for the program known as Social Security could cause huge debt for decades.

"They are spending the money seniors rely on, while making no effort to balance the budget or protect the limited funds we have for retirement security," said Mr. Braley.

Reforming Social Security was the key domestic priority of the president's second term, but ran into opposition from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress over how future retirement payments should be funded.

President Bush says he intends to pursue the issue after November's Congressional elections.