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Bush Pushes Competitiveness Initiative


President Bush wants Congress to boost funding for U.S. research and development to keep America competitive in the world economy.

President Bush says his American Competitiveness Initiative will help keep the nation the world's economic leader, while raising the standard of living and creating new U.S. jobs.

"By investing in research and development, unleashing the innovative spirit of America's entrepreneurs and making sure that our economy has workers highly skilled in math and science, we will lay the foundation for lasting economic prosperity," said President Bush.

In his weekly radio address, the president said America must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity by encouraging innovation throughout the economy, and teaching more math and science.

First launched in Tuesday's State of the Union address, the initiative would double federal funding for basic research in the physical sciences over the next decade, and make permanent tax credits for private sector investments in new technology.

It would also train 70,000 high school teachers for advanced courses in math and science, and fund early help for students struggling in math, which the president says will boost their chances for a better-paying job.

In the Democratic radio address, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm says President Bush is abandoning manufacturing jobs. She says his State of the Union address offered little to those workers, especially automakers central to her state's economy.

"So, on behalf of citizens in Michigan and around the country - citizens who may or may not share your views of the state of our union - I ask you, with due respect, to fight for them," Governor Granholm said. "Fight for fair trade. Fight for our manufacturers. Fight for our automakers. Fight for our American workers."

Granholm says American businesses need the Bush administration to help cut health care costs, protect worker pensions and enforce international trade agreements.

President Bush says he is helping business by staying aggressive in the face of international competition, at a time when, he says, some Americans are anxious about the future.

"We're seeing the rise of new competitors, like China and India, who are making great strides in technology," he said. "In response, some people want to wall off our economy from the world. That is called protectionism. The American people should not fear our economic future, because we intend to shape our economic future."

President Bush spends the weekend on his Texas ranch before returning to Washington for Monday's release of his 2007 budget proposals to Congress.