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New Economic Team Will Spur Growth, Says Bush

President Bush says his new economic team will help spur growth and restore investor confidence to strengthen the economic recovery. Mr. Bush this week nominated three business leaders to serve as White House economic advisor, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and treasury secretary.

President Bush says his new economic team comes on board at an important moment for the nation. While inflation is under control and mortgage rates are at historic lows, Mr. Bush says there are challenges that could further slow the recovery and limit growth. "Many Americans have very little money left over after taxes," he said. "Some struggle under a weight of debt that makes it difficult to save for retirement. Investor confidence needs to be strengthened in practical ways."

In his weekly radio address, the president said he will ask the incoming Congress to pass a growth and jobs package of more tax cuts to boost economic recovery. He also wants a further extension of unemployment benefits for 750,000 Americans who will lose that assistance on December 28. "We must help our fellow citizens who have lost their jobs," said President Bush. "And we must create an environment in which businesses, especially small businesses, can grow and generate the new jobs our country needs."

Mr. Bush says Congress should make its extension of unemployment benefits retroactive so that those who lost that coverage this month will be paid in full.

Investor confidence is down following a series of accounting scandals that have led to record corporate bankruptcies. The president is speaking out more on the economy as some polls show that, for the first time since last year's terrorists attack in New York and Washington, more Americans are concerned about the weak economy than terrorism or Iraq.