July 8, 2002 – President Bush Holds A News Conference
July 8, 2002 – President Bush holds a news conference. Smack in the middle of our involvement in Iraq, the war on terror, legislation to prevent corporate abuse, the Enron scandal and the growing concern this might be the tip of the iceberg – a full plate of issues and problems to deal with. Some were addressed, some were postponed and some were relegated to back-burner status. But as a reminder that the White House, despite how we felt at the time, was at least embodying the concept of the Executive wing of government. Below is an excerpt of the opening text from President Bush:
President Bush: “Congress simply must fund our troops while they’re fighting a war. And Congress must provide the funds to improve security at our airports. Further delay is intolerable. Congress has got to act.
Congress must also pass the defense appropriations for next year’s budget. The House has acted; the Senate must act. Our nation is at war and our budget priorities and actions need to reflect that reality. These bills are critical, and quick action on them does not, and should not, preclude simultaneous progress on other legislation.
Creating more jobs and strengthening our economy are critical priorities. And Congress can act to create jobs by giving me trade promotion authority. Expanding trade means new jobs for American workers. Congress has debated trade now for more than a year. It’s time to stop talking; it’s time to start acting. Congress should act to create American jobs before it goes home for the August recess.
And Congress should act to make us less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Congress has the opportunity to pass legislation that gives America the energy policy it needs — one that makes us less dependent on foreign oil and promotes conservation. Reliable, affordable energy means more and better jobs.
Another key element of economic growth is consumer and investor confidence in our markets and in the integrity of corporate America. And right now, that confidence has been shaken. Tomorrow in New York, I’ll outline tough new laws and actions to punish abuses, restore investor confidence, and protect the pensions of American workers. We have a duty to every worker, shareholder, and investor in America to punish the guilty, to close loopholes, and protect employee pensions. And we will.
The House has acted on the pension reforms I proposed in February, and on the corporate responsibility proposals I made in March. It’s time for the Senate to act in an equally responsive manner.
As Congress works on all this important legislation, it must keep a tight hand on taxpayers’ money. Excessive government spending is a drag, or will be a drag, on our economy. Congress is moving forward on the proposal for the new Department of Homeland Security, and it is doing so with speed and skill, and a constructive spirit of bipartisan cooperation. I hope the Congress will apply the same spirit to other important legislation.
A safer and more prosperous America can also be a more compassionate country. The House has acted to encourage the charity and good works of private and religious groups throughout America. The House has also passed welfare reform that upholds the values of work and family. If the Senate acts, we will improve the lives of millions of our fellow citizens.
I know that this is an election year, and both Republicans and Democrats will be focused on politics — that’s normal during an election year. But we must not be distracted from the important work that we share. It will take a lot of work and bipartisan cooperation to get important legislation out of the Congress before they all go home to campaign. The agenda’s full, the time is short, and the nation is watching.
In the coming weeks, I’ll continue to focus on pursuing the war, and protecting the homeland, and strengthening our economy. And I urge the Congress to join me in this unfinished business.
Now I’ll be glad to answer some questions you have. Start here. David”. . . .
As a reminder that not all press conferences were free-for-alls and actually did address issues, here is that News Conference and discussion from July 8, 2002 via National Public Radio.