President uses radio address to press Congress to pass his domestic agenda

Saturday, December 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush pressured Congress on Saturday to take up his domestic agenda, saying Americans are worried not only about terrorism, but a host of other issues too.

Bush complained in his weekly radio address that his proposals on energy, patients' rights, education and federal funding for religious charities are ``stuck in Congress.'' He said he discovered at a town hall meeting in Florida this week that the public fears their elected officials will be slow to act on those issues because they lack a direct tie to the anti-terrorism effort.

``As we wage war against terror, Americans made it clear they are also worried about the challenges we are facing here at home,'' Bush said. ``Americans want action that will strengthen the economy and create jobs. They want greater energy independence and they want reforms in our public schools. As I listened to the concerns of these Americans, I hope Congress was listening, too.''

The president urged citizens to contact their members of Congress about education legislation and a patients' rights bill. Both are in conference committees, waiting for House and Senate negotiators to work out a compromise.

``These are important measures,'' Bush said. ``I am ready to sign them. I hope you'll let Congress hear from you. Let them know you want action not just on national security or homeland security, you want action to protect America's economic security as well.''

Bush put the onus on the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

``I know that the Senate is closely divided among Republicans and Democrats, but the American people expect the Senate and its leaders to find a way to work together and bridge their differences,'' he said. ``Now is not the time for partisan politics. Now is the time for leadership. It's time to act.''

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In the Democrats' radio response, Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening said Republican lawmakers have not put enough focus on the recession and those hurt profoundly by it. Instead, he said, they are pursuing an economic recovery plan that ``rewards their most generous financial supporters, while doing little or nothing to help those who are already bearing the brunt of this recession.''

He said GOP-backed economic proposals would cost states $15 billion over the next three years.

``While the Republican approach is fiscally reckless for the federal budget, it is potentially devastating to state budgets,'' Glendening said. ``Any bill to stimulate our economy and help families must not harm the states which they call home.''