WASHINGTON – U.S. President George W. Bush was troubled on Friday by new evidence of a slumping economy and believed it demonstrated the need for Congress to approve an economic stimulus package, the White House said.
The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy shrank at a faster rate than first thought during the third quarter, contracting at the steepest pace in more than a decade as corporate profits tumbled for a fourth straight quarter.
"The president is troubled by the fact that the economy has shrunken again," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.
"The president believes that given this latest report, it's just unimaginable that the Senate could possibly leave town without completing its work on the stimulus. We'll continue to work closely with the Senate to help the Senate complete its work," he said.
The Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives are negotiating the shape of a stimulus package of up to $75 billion, with Democrats pushing to include more spending while Republicans insist on a plan dependent mostly on tax breaks.
They are trying to complete work before adjourning for the year in December.