Good morning. We've had a month of accomplishment in Washington. Congress acted
on several important proposals to strengthen our national security and our homeland
security and our economic security. Republicans and Democrats worked in a spirit
of unity and purpose that I hope to see more of in the fall.
I requested more money for our military and for our homeland security, and Congress
provided crucial funding to continue military operations, to train and equip
medics, police officers and firefighters around America, and to support the
Coast Guard operations that protect our ports and coasts.
I proposed tough new standards for corporate executives and accountants, and
increased penalties for fraud and abuse. Congress responded with strong corporate
accountability reforms, which I signed into law on Tuesday. And we are rigorously
enforcing the laws against corporate crimes with new arrests just this week.
For nearly a year and a half, I've been pressing Congress for trade promotion
authority so I can aggressively push for open trade with other nations. This
week, the Senate followed the lead of the House by giving me that authority,
which I will sign into law next week. Expanded trade will mean more business
for America's farmers and ranchers and manufacturers, better buys for American
consumers, and good jobs for America's workers. Together, we made significant
progress on national priorities.
Yet, when Congress returns from its summer recess, important work remains. In
march, I urged Congress in a time of war to pass the defense budget first. After
four months, the House and the Senate have acted on their own bills -- but they
have not sent me a final bill that works out their differences. When the Congress
returns in September, its first priority should be to complete the defense budget
so our military can plan for, and pay for, the war on terror and all the missions
that lie ahead.
The Senate should also act quickly to pass a bill authorizing the new Department
of Homeland Security, which it failed to do before the recess. This department
will consolidate dozens of federal agencies charged with protecting our homeland,
giving them one main focus: protecting the American people.
And when we create this department, the new Secretary of Homeland Security will
need the freedom and flexibility to respond to threats by getting the right
people into the right jobs at the right time -- without a lot of bureaucratic
The Senate must understand that the protection of our homeland is much more
important than the narrow politics of special interests. Congress should also
act to strengthen the economic security of all Americans. The Senate must pass
reforms to protect workers' savings and investments; and reform Medicare to
include prescription drug benefits. Both Houses must reach a consensus on final
terrorism insurance legislation, to spur building projects and create construction
And they must agree on a comprehensive energy bill that will increase production
and promote conservation and reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources.
And as we work to strengthen America's economy, we must remember Americans who
are struggling. The Senate should follow the House's lead and pass welfare reform
that encourages work and promotes strong families.
And they should pass legislation to promote the vital work of private and religious
charities, and helping disadvantaged children and people struggling with addiction,
the homeless and many others.
I know in the fall of an election year the tendency is to focus more on scoring
political points than on making progress. I hope the Congress will reject this
approach. In the last month we've proven how much we can get done when everyone
in Washington works together on behalf of the American people. Come September,
I look forward to working with the Republicans and Democrats to build on that