Bush Calls for Calm, Fast Action in Congress - TheStreet

Bush Calls for Calm, Fast Action in Congress

The president assures Americans that bank deposits are safe and points to strong points in the economy. He also calls on Congress to finalize housing and energy legislation.
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In an unannounced press conference Tuesday, President Bush reassured Americans that the U.S. economy "is basically sound."

Bush also tried to allay fear that bank deposits were at risk. "If you're a depositor, you're protected by the Federal government," he said. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insures deposits up to $100,000.

Bush pointed to the following positive key factors: first-quarter gross domestic product exceeded expectations and showed growth; productivity remains high; and the stimulus package has given the American consumer more spending cash.

President Bush suggested he wouldn't rule out an addition economic stimulus package but said he preferred to wait to see whether the first stimulus package will suffice.

Bush urged the Congress to take fast action on both the housing and energy front. He repeated requests for Congress to finalize housing legislation that would reform the Federal Housing Administration and regulate Fannie Mae

(FNM)

and Freddie Mac

(FRE)

, and pass the Colombian Free Trade pact. Bush also asked Congress to remove the offshore drilling ban. Monday he rescinded an executive order banning drilling.

President Bush also wanted fast action on his latest proposal to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in Congress. He strongly endorsed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan but asserted definitively that the two companies would continue to be held by private investors. Bush also rejected the notion that the government would bail out any private enterprise.

Bush said: "I understand there's a lot of nervousness." He continued his optimistic view, but conceded: "It's not as good as we like, and to the extent that we find weakness, we'll move."