Bush Pushes Congress on Economy

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Holding court in the Rose Garden, President Bush dove right into a thorny issue for many Americans these days. the slowing economy.

Some say we're in a recession, but the President refused to play the name game.

Click the player to watch a portion of President Bush's news conference.

"The average person doesn't really care what we call it. The average person wants to know whether or not we know that they're paying higher gasoline prices and they're worried about staying in their homes. And I do understand that," Bush said.

Calling these difficult and tough times, President Bush said Americans are experiencing hardships on all fronts. paying more for gas and groceries and struggling to pay their mortgages and tuition fees.

And he said the Democratic-controlled Congress - in blocking his proposals - is to blame.

"I believe they're letting the American people down," Bush said.

The President faulted lawmakers for failing to protect Americans from issues ranging from national security, to protecting their pocket books, to failing to come up with long-term, comprehensive solutions -- like opening new refineries, expanding alternative sources of energy and allowing domestic drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.

"The truth of the matter is it's in our national interests that we are farmers that grow energy as opposed to us purchasing energy from parts of the world that are unstable or may not like us," Bush said.

Bush said he would consider tapping into the nation's strategic oil reserves if he thought it would help to lower prices and he said he was open to other energy ideas -- though he would not endorse a proposal to suspend gas and diesel taxes this summer - like Senators McCain and Clinton are suggesting.

As for another stimulus package, the President said he's waiting to see the effects of the rebates -- designed to deliver a boon to the economy.

But it'll be several months before their impact is felt as the first wave of checks were electronically deposited this week.

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