The following is a transcript of President Bush's radio address:
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. On Monday night, I will address the American people about the state of our union. I will report that over the last seven years, we've made great progress on important issues at home and abroad. I will also report that we have unfinished business before us, and we must work together to get it done.
In my speech, I will lay out a full plate of issues for Congress to address in the year ahead. Two of these issues require immediate attention.
First is the economy. I know many of you are worried about the risk of an economic downturn, because of the instability in the housing and financial markets. You should know that while economic growth has slowed in recent months, the foundation for long-term growth remains solid. And I believe that with swift action, we can give our economy the boost it needs to continue expanding and creating new jobs for our citizens.
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On Thursday, my Administration reached a bipartisan agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boehner on an economic growth package. This package will deliver direct tax relief to hardworking Americans. It will also include incentives for businesses — including small businesses — to make new investments this year. I ask the House and Senate to enact this package into law as soon as possible. And while I understand the desire to add provisions from both the left and the right, it would be a mistake to undermine this important bipartisan agreement. By working together, we can provide our economy with a shot in the arm when we need it most.
The other urgent issue before Congress is a matter of national security. Congress needs to provide our intelligence professionals with the tools and flexibility they need to protect America from attack. In August, Congress passed a bill that strengthened our ability to monitor terrorist communications. The problem is that Congress set this law to expire on February 1st. That is next Friday. If this law expires, it will become harder to figure out what our enemies are doing to infiltrate our country, harder for us to uncover terrorist plots, and harder to prevent attacks on the American people.
Congress is now considering a bipartisan bill that will allow our professionals to maintain the vital flow of intelligence on terrorist threats. It would protect the freedoms of Americans, while making sure we do not extend those same protections to terrorists overseas. It would provide liability protection to companies now facing billion-dollar lawsuits because they are believed to have assisted in efforts to defend our Nation following the 9/11 attacks. I call on Congress to pass this legislation quickly. We need to know who our enemies are and what they are plotting. And we cannot afford to wait until after an attack to put the pieces together.
When I go before Congress on Monday, I will speak more about how we can keep our economy strong and our people safe. I am confident that we can work together to meet our responsibilities in these areas — and leave our children a stronger and more prosperous America.
Thank you for listening.