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Bush: America Grieves This Holiday Season - 2001-12-22

President Bush says America enters this holiday season grieving for those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks of September 11. Mr. Bush said it has been a difficult year, but one that did produce some accomplishment with the U.S. Congress.

President Bush says this Christmas comes just months after a great national loss - terrorist attacks that he said have made Americans more appreciative of family, friends, and faith. Mr. Bush said the nation shares the grief of those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks and in the fighting in Afghanistan.

"The year now ending saw a few acts of terrible evil," the president said. "It also saw many more acts of courage and kindness and love. And these reflect the great hope of Christmas - a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it."

In his weekly radio address, the president said he is disappointed that his economic stimulus package did not get through Congress, but he is still grateful for the year's legislative achievements including education reform, tax relief, homeland defense, and increased aviation security.

"These achievements bring credit to the Congress, and I'm grateful for their work. I'm disappointed, however, that the Senate was not able to pass legislation to get our economy growing again, and to help workers who have lost their jobs," Mr. Bush said. "I'm hopeful that the positive spirit of bipartisan accomplishment that guided much of this year's success will prevail when Congress returns early next year."

Democrats say the president's stimulus plan does not do enough to help unemployed workers keep their health insurance. In the Democratic response, New York Congressman Charles Rangel said the Republican plan unfairly favors big business in hopes of building Republican-party campaign contributions.

"Instead of keeping their promise to the people, some politicians in Washington are wrapping the flag around special-interest agendas," congressman Rangel said. "Republican leaders have even pushed a so-called stimulus bill that gives a large, permanent tax break to big corporations paid for with the payroll tax contributions of hard-working Americans." The president's plan passed the Republican-controlled House but failed to reach a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Democratic leaders say they will continue to work with the president when they return from their end of year recess in late January.

Mr. Bush left for the presidential retreat at Camp David Saturday, where he and the first lady will celebrate Christmas before spending the new year at their ranch in Texas.