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Bush Calls For Economic Stimulus Package - 2001-10-31

President Bush is urging the Congress to take strong steps now to boost the American economy.

The appeal comes amidst a flurry of bad economic news.

Shortly after the government released troubling new economic figures, President Bush issued a call for action. "Today there is some news out on our economy and it confirms the events of September 11 have really shocked the nation, affected our work force and affected our business base," the president said.

In a speech to business leaders, the president said the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington made a bad economic situation even worse. He said it is no surprise that consumer confidence in the economy is falling. "People are having tough times in America. People are losing their jobs and I am deeply concerned about that and I know you are as well. Consumer confidence is down. After all, we are at war," Mr. Bush said. The latest statistics on the nation's output of goods and services show the economy shrank by .4 between July and September. It is the biggest drop in the gross domestic product since early 1991, when the country was in the midst of a recession.

President Bush was wrapping up an early morning meeting with congressional leaders when the figures became public. He urged them in private to pass a massive package of tax cuts and other incentives to boost the economy. When he went before the National Association of Manufacturers, he made the same appeal in public: "...and so my call to Congress is get to work and get something done. The American people expect us to do just that."

The president said he wants an economic stimulus package to clear Congress by the end of November. Despite pledges of cooperation from Capitol Hill, there are differences over the extent of government aid for unemployed workers.