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Bush Asks Congress to Take Emergency Measures to Boost Economy - 2001-10-04


President Bush is calling on the United States Congress to take emergency action to help the U.S. economy. He is asked the legislature to pass a stimulus package totaling between $60 and $75 billion. Mr. Bush told a group of corporate executives the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington shocked the economy and made a troubling economic situation even worse.

The President says the economy will recover, but it needs help from the government.

"I know there are people hurting in America; there are people who have lost their jobs," the president said. " But as I assured these leaders, our government will do everything we can to get our economy growing, to make it as strong as possible."

Mr. Bush outlined his approach during a meeting with business leaders in New York City. They met in a building not far from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

"I think there is no question we all agree the events of September 11 shocked our economy just like it shocked the conscience of our nation," Mr. Bush said.

The White House plan calls for a mix of tax cuts, increased government spending, and extra assistance for the unemployed. It won a quick vote of support from the two dozen or so corporate executives who met with the President.

Among them was Kenneth Chenault of American Express.

"What happened here is a very close partnership that exists between the private sector and the public sector. We are all in this together," Mr. Chenault said.

As they left the building, they saw constant reminders of the devastation left behind when hijacked jets slammed into the landmark twin towers. Mr. Bush visited the site just a few days after the attacks to thank rescuers and mourn with the families of the dead. This time, the President offered aid, comfort and a focus on recovery. He went from New York's financial district to a city school, where he visited with groups of five and six-year-old children.

Mr. Bush walked from one classroom to another, talking with the youngsters and their teachers. At one point, he stopped at a large piece of poster paper hung on a blackboard. "Why We Love America" was written at the top. Amongst the words of the children, the President wrote: "I love America because I love freedom."

For a few moments, he saw the tragedy through the eyes of the very young. He looked at their bright crayon drawings of the events of September 11, and read the inscriptions.

"Today we were very sad..." he said.

Cards from children were also on display at Engine Company 55, a New York fire station that lost five of its men in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The President spent some time alone with firefighters in the station - far from television cameras and microphones. Outside, a small makeshift shrine sat along an edge of the building. There were flowers, candles, flags, pictures of the lost firemen and a note that read simply "to our beloved heroes."