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Bush Presses Congress to Act on Major Legislation, Democrats Want Movement on Environment

U.S. President George Bush says the Democratic-led Congress has failed to address a series of important issues, and he wants action soon. Democrats are pushing their Republican colleagues in Congress to support environmental legislation. VOA's Kent Klein reports from Washington.

President Bush says lawmakers need to move quickly on a wide range of bills when they return to Washington this coming week from their Memorial Day recess.

"I hope members of Congress return rested, because they have a lot of work left on important issues, and limited time to get it done," he said.

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush said Congress has failed to deal with issues including a free-trade agreement with Colombia, confirmation of the President's nominees for 350 federal positions, and funding for U.S. military forces abroad.

"Our troops in Afghanistan are performing with courage and honor, delivering blows to the Taleban and al-Qaida," he said. "Our troops in Iraq have driven al-Qaida and other extremists from sanctuaries they once held across the country, and are chasing them from their last remaining strongholds. Our men and women in uniform are risking their lives every day, and they deserve the resources and flexibility they need to complete their mission."

Mr. Bush said he wants Congress to pass a war funding bill that is not full of unrelated domestic spending.

The president's proposed free-trade agreement with Colombia was blocked in the House of Representatives, after U.S. labor unions complained that Colombian workers' rights are often violated.

In the Democratic Party radio address, Barbara Boxer of California, who leads the Senate's environment committee, called on her fellow Senators to support legislation to fight global warming.

"The fact is that the overwhelming majority of scientists say that the earth is in peril, if we do not act now," she said. "They have told us clearly that more than 40 percent of God's creatures could face extinction if we do not act now."

Boxer disputed industry claims that proposed limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions could threaten the economy. She said the legislation would create millions of new jobs and move the United States toward energy independence.

The Senate is to begin considering the bill on Monday.