U.S. President George W. Bush warned Tuesday that the damage to the nation's economy will be "painful and lasting" if Congress fails to act to rescue markets.
Bush warns of "painful and lasting" damage if bailout plan not passed
"The reality is that we are in an urgent situation, and the consequences will grow worse each day if we do not act," Bush said at the White House.
His remarks came a day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted narrowly to reject the 700-billion-dollar financial rescue bill that the Bush administration and leading members of Congress had agreed was necessary.
"We are at a critical moment for our economy and we need legislation that decisively addresses the troubled assets now clogging the financial system, helps lender resume the flow of credit to consumers and businesses, and allows the American economy to get moving again," said the president.
Under the rescue bill, the federal government will be authorized to purchase these assets from banks and other financial institutions, which is expected to help free them to resume lending to businesses and consumers.
Bush said that the U.S. economy "is depending on decisive action from the government." "The sooner we address the problem, the sooner we can get back on the path of growth and job creation," he said.
"I'm confident we'll deliver," he added.
The president said that he acknowledges that this is a difficult vote for members of Congress and that many are uncomfortable with what's transpiring in the economy.
But if no action is taken, "the economic damage will be painful and lasting," he said.
"We're facing a choice between action and the real prospect of economic hardship for millions of Americans," Bush noted. "For the financial security of many Americans, Congress must act."
McCain, Obama react differently to failed bailout bill
U.S. presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama reacted in different ways to Monday's failure of the bailout bill in the House, the U.S. News and World Report reported Tuesday.
Obama, McCain urge new bailout plan
Republican McCain took credit for positive changes he said were made to the bill while blaming its defeat on Obama and his fellow Democrats.
"Our leaders are expected to leave partisanship at the door and come to the table to solve our problems. Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship in the process," said McCain.
But U.S. media pointed out that Democrats in the House mustered 140 votes for the bailout plan drafted by lawmakers from both parties and the Bush administration, while Republicans delivered only 65 votes.
Some 133 House Republicans opposed it, as did 95 Democrats.
In contrast, Obama urged calm and assured supporters that a rescue plan would get done.
"No one person is at fault in this crisis, there's a lot of blame to spread around," he said.
"Right now, Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed, but members have not agreed," Obama said.
"It's important for the American people and the markets to stay calm because things are never smooth in Congress, and to understand that it will get done. We are going to make sure that an emergency package is put together because it is required for us to stabilize the markets," he noted.
Analysts said playing the blame game is a gamble for McCain, because it could deflect attention from his own unsuccessful effort since to rally House Republicans behind the bailout.
It could backfire if voters don't think his criticism of Obama is credible.
It also could encourage Obama and his surrogates to paint McCain as temperamental and impulsive, a tactic they're weighing.
For Obama, the political risk lies in his continuing calculations over how strongly to defend himself against attacks versus refusing to take the bait.
Many of his Democratic supporters worry that he's too aloof under fire sometimes, although his calm performance in the face of McCain's jabs during their first debate last week seemed to work in Obama's favor, as polls showed him pulling ahead.
(Xinhua News Agency October 1, 2008)