September 30, 2008
Trying to sell his financial rescue package for the second morning in a row, President Bush warned on national television Tuesday that the country will experience “painful and lasting” economic damage if Congress does not pass a bailout measure.
“The consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act,” he said.
Bush sounded determined but looked worn in brief remarks as he faced perhaps the final trial of his presidency, and one that pits him against powerful voices in the lifelong party of his family.
“Our economy is depending on decisive action from the government,” Bush said in the White House’s Diplomatic Room. “I’m confident that we’ll deliver.”
Bush was embarrassed Monday when the $700 billion package lost by 12 votes in the House, sending the stock market plunging.
“As much as we might wish the situation were different, our country is not facing a choice between government action and the smooth functioning of the free market,” he said. “We’re facing a choice between action and the real prospect of economic hardship for millions of Americans.”
Bush said he was “disappointed by the outcome” in the House, but said he can “assure our citizens and citizens around the world that this is not the end of the legislative process.”
“It matters little what path a bill takes to become law,” he said. “What matters is that we get a law. We’re at a critical moment for our economy. …
“I recognize that this is a difficult vote for members of Congress. … But the reality is that we’re in an urgent situation, and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act. … If our nation continues on this course, the economic damage will be painful and lasting.”