Bush Warns Economic Damage Could Be ‘Painful and Lasting’

By Jennifer Parker

Sep 30, 2008 10:06am

ABC News’ Jennifer Duck reports: After Congress failed to pass a $700 billion financial rescue bill yesterday, President Bush made a plea to Congress Tuesday morning to act now or "the economic damage will be painful and lasting." 

This is the sixth time in the past two weeks President Bush cleared his schedule to make remarks specifically on the economy.

"The reality is that we are in an urgent situation, and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act," he said. 

"The dramatic drop in the stock market that we saw yesterday will have a direct impact on the retirement accounts, pension funds, and personal savings of millions of our citizens. And if our nation continues on this course, the economic damage will be painful and lasting."

The president added the more than 777-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday represented more than a trillion dollars in losses.

Speaking directly to Congress he said, "We’re facing a choice between action and the real prospect of economic hardship for millions of Americans. And for the financial security of every American, Congress must act."

Bush admitted he was "disappointed" by the vote yesterday but emphasized urgency in getting a new bill into law. "Producing legislation is complicated, and it can be contentious.  It matters little what a path a bill takes to become law. What matters is that we get a law."

Since many members are off today for the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah, the legislation would come Wednesday at the earliest. 

However, the president noted his economic team will be working closely and talking with both parties in Congress today. 

Both presidential candidates called the president this morning about the failed bailout bill.

“Senator McCain and Senator Obama each called and spoke to the President this morning regarding the financial crisis," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. "Both calls were very constructive, and the President appreciated hearing from them.  The senators offered ideas and reaffirmed what they have said publicly – that this is a critical issue that needs to be addressed.  We’re not going to comment on specific ideas, but we appreciate hearing them and will continue to work with congressional leaders on ideas that will help the economy."

Some of the ideas being considered for the bill include extending Federal Deposit Insurance to more accounts, something Obama advocated this morning, and eliminating the mark-to-market rule that makes financial decision-makers show their losses in real time.

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