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Bush Calls for Swift Passage of Financial Rescue Bill

U.S. President George Bush is urging Congress to move quickly to pass the $700 billion financial rescue package unveiled Sunday. VOA White House Correspondent Paula Wolfson reports Mr. Bush says it is an extraordinary agreement to deal with an extraordinary problem in the economy.

The president went before television cameras shortly after dawn - 90 minutes before the start of trading on Wall Street, and hours before a planned vote in the House of Representatives.

He hailed the rescue package as a bold deal.

"I am confident that this rescue plan, along with other measures taken by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve [the central bank] will begin to restore strength and stability to America's financial system and overall economy," said Mr. Bush.

The president acknowledged that the negotiations on the bill were difficult, but added all the hard work and cooperation paid off in the end.

He said the plan addresses the root cause of the financial crisis: a surge in risky mortgages gone bad which has restricted the amount of credit available for other uses.

"With this strong and decisive legislation, we will help restore the flow of credit so American families can meet their daily needs and American businesses can make purchases, ship goods and meet their payrolls," he said.

The president said he knows this will be a tough vote for members of Congress. He said many Americans are concerned that their tax money will be used to bail out private lenders and other financial institutions.

"Congress can send a strong signal to markets at home and abroad by passing this bill promptly," Mr. Bush added. "Every member of Congress and every American should keep in mind that a vote for this bill is a vote to prevent economic damage to you and your community."

Mr. Bush cautioned the package will not provide an immediate and complete cure for all the problems facing the economy. But he said he is sure that in the long run America will overcome all these challenges and remain the most dynamic and productive economy in the world.