For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 14, 2008
President Bush Meets with Cabinet, Discusses Economy, Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Just the Facts: Charting Colombia's Progress
10:14 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank members of my Cabinet for joining me this morning. We discussed a variety of subjects, including the progress being made in the freedom agenda around the world. But we also are reminded that tomorrow is tax day, and our fellow citizens will be paying taxes during a time of economic uncertainty; these are tough economic times.
This administration anticipated these times. We worked with Congress to pass a pro-growth package that incents businesses to invest; a pro-growth package that will be sending some of your taxpayers' money back to you. And the Secretary mentioned again that the second week of May the checks and/or credits to your account will start coming -- coming to you. And that's going to be an important part of making sure this economy begins to recover in a way that will add confidence and hope.
One way Congress can act is to make the tax cuts permanent. If they really are that concerned about economic uncertainty, they ought to create certainty in the tax code. The other thing we've been very active on is helping people stay in their homes -- whether it be the HOPE NOW Alliance, or FHA Secure. Over a million people have been helped to renegotiate and/or to find ways to stay in the home that they own.
Congress can help. Congress needs to modernize FHA; they need to modernize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I mean, there's constructive things Congress can do that will encourage the housing market to correct quickly by encouraging -- helping people stay in their homes. I don't think we ought to be bailing out lenders or speculators. I think we need to be helping hardworking Americans who are creditworthy stay in their homes.
I do want to say something about trade. There's big disappointment around this table about the action the Speaker took on the Colombia free trade agreement. This free trade agreement is good for American workers and it's good for American consumers. And this free trade agreement is in our national interests. Yet that bill is dead unless the Speaker schedules a definite vote. This is a unprecedented move and it's not in our country's interest that we stiff an ally like Colombia, and that we don't encourage our goods and services to be sold overseas.
Congress recently has been working on legislation for beach monitoring and landscape conservation. And those are important issues -- but not nearly as important as FHA modernization or the Colombia free trade agreement or making the tax cuts permanent.
Thank you very much.
END 10:17 A.M. EDT