Highlights of President's News Conference
President Bush: "This week Congress passed legislation to protect middle-class families from the burden of the Alternative Minimum Tax, without raising taxes." "Unfortunately, Congress passed this legislation after a lengthy delay. … [T]he delay is going to add time it takes to process tens of billions of dollars in refunds. And so … now that the bill is passed, we will work hard to minimize the impact of the congressional delay so that Americans can get their refund checks as soon as possible." (President George W. Bush, Press Conference, The White House, 12/20/07)
"The legislation I signed yesterday will reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil by increasing the supply of alternative fuel sources and increasing fuel economy standards." "It demonstrates America's leadership in confronting climate change."
"The bill I'm going to sign this afternoon increases the incentive for borrowers and lenders to work together to refinance loans." "It will allow American families to secure lower mortgage payments without facing higher taxes."
"Finally, Congress reached agreement on a spending bill to fund the day-to-day operations of the federal government." "They passed this bill without raising taxes. They eliminated many of the worst policy riders that would have never been approved through the ordinary legislative process. I appreciate that they included a down payment on the funding request for our troops on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq without an artificial timetable of withdrawal. These brave men and women are risking their lives to protect us and they deserve the full support of the U.S. government."
"I'm Instructing Budget Director Jim Nussle To Review Options For Dealing With The Wasteful Spending In The Omnibus Bill"
President Bush: "I'm disappointed that Congress resorted to passing all this spending in one massive, more than 1,400-page omnibus bill, rather than considering and passing individual spending bills in the normal process." "The omnibus bill was approved at the last minute, nearly three months after the end of the fiscal year. When Congress wastes so much time and leaves its work to the final days before Christmas it is not a responsible way to run this government."
"Another thing that's not responsible is the number of earmarks that Congress included in a massive spending bill." "The bill they just passed includes about 9,800 earmarks. Together with the previously passed defense spending bill, that means Congress has approved about 11,900 earmarks this year."
"We Have A Great Deal Of Work In The Months Ahead"
President Bush: "The American people did not elect us to govern in odd years, and campaign in even years. They expect us to get things done." "Next year is an election year, but that does not relieve us of our responsibility to carry out the people's business. … That's what we've accomplished over the past few weeks. And we need to carry this momentum into next year. I'm going to do my part, and I call upon the leaders of both parties on Capitol Hill to do their part."
"First priority of Congress when it returns in the new year must be to pass a good [FISA modernization] bill and get it to my desk promptly." "Those of us in public office have no greater responsibility than stopping new attacks on our country. And this summer Congress passed a bill … called the 'Protect America Act,' which strengthened our ability to collect foreign intelligence on terrorists overseas. … Unfortunately, Congress made this law effective until February 1st of 2008, as if the terrorist threat is going to go away on February the 1st, 2008."
"One Of My Priorities … Is To Make Sure [Congress Does Not] Run Up The Taxes On People"
President Bush: "My view is … that given more money, the government will find new ways to spend it." "And my attitude is, if you run them up on one area, it will become a habit that will be hard to break, and then they'll try to run them up on other areas. And the reason I feel strongly about that is I don't want to undermine the economy by raising taxes."