Bush plans to go to Chicago Thursday, seeking to boost economy, airlines

Tuesday, September 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush will travel to Chicago Thursday to pledge his support to an ailing airline industry and urge Americans to resume their normal spending practices.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Tuesday the best thing Americans can do for the economy is to shop and travel as much as possible. Details of the trip were not released, but Fleischer said it is ``designed to send a signal to Americans of the importance of raising economic activity.''

Bush will thank airline workers for their service in the aftermath of the attacks and tell them he's concerned about the loss of jobs in the industry as the number of passengers plummets. Bush has signed a $15 billion relief bill for the industry, but has balked at Democratic plans to extend unemployment and health insurance benefits to airline workers.

Fleischer said Bush is concerned about the economy in general, a reference to negotiations between the White House and Congress over a broad economic stimulus program that could include Bush-backed tax cuts.

Fleischer said economic ripple effects of the attacks have spread throughout the economy.

Bush was in Florida when terrorists struck New York and Washington. He took several hours to return to the White House amid fears that the presidential residence and Air Force One were potential targets. He toured the World Trade Center attack site last week.