Good morning. Congress came back to Washington this week and they have a lot
of work ahead of them before the August vacation. I urge the Congress to join
me in acting to achieve three big goals: We need to win the war, we need to
protect our homeland, and we must strengthen our economy.
Winning the war and protecting the homeland require a sustained national commitment.
More than 100 days ago, I asked Congress to pass emergency funding to equip
our armed forces and strengthen security at our airports. The Department of
Defense and the new Transportation Security Administration are still waiting
for the money. Without prompt congressional action, our military will need to
start cannibalizing spare parts to keep equipment running. The Transportation
Security Administration will have to suspend the purchase and installation of
up to 1,100 bomb detection systems, and the FAA may have to furlough up to 35,000
air traffic employees.
Congress must fund our troops while they're fighting a war. And Congress must
provide funds to continue improving security at our airports. Congress also
must pass the Defense appropriations for next year's budget. The House has acted,
the Senate must act. Our nation is at war, and our budget priorities and actions
need to reflect that reality. Congress should send the Defense bill to my desk
by the end of this month.
These bills are critical, yet quick action on them does not and should not preclude
simultaneous progress on other legislation. Creating more jobs and strengthening
our economy are an urgent part of our agenda.
Congress can act to create jobs by giving me trade promotion authority, which
will allow me to open up foreign markets to American goods and create better
American jobs. For the sake of long-term growth and job creation, I ask Congress
to make last year's tax reductions permanent and I ask Congress to work with
me to pass a terrorism insurance bill, to give companies the security they need
to expand and create jobs through new building projects.
Perhaps the greatest need for our economy at this moment is restoring confidence
in the integrity of the American business leaders. Nearly every week brings
news of greater productivity or strong consumer spending, but also a discovery
of fraud and scandal, problems long in the making and now coming to light.
This week, I announced new steps my administration is taking to crack down on
corporate fraud. I proposed doubling jail time for financial fraud. I am creating
a new task force at the Justice Department to aggressively investigate corporate
crime. I'm requesting an additional $100 million to give the SEC the manpower
and the technology it needs to better enforce the law.
This year, the SEC has acted to bar 71 officers and directors from ever again
serving as a director of a public company. All of these measures are in addition
to the comprehensive plans I announced and the House passed to protect worker
pensions and to make CEOs more accountable.
As part of this crackdown, I support the creation of a strong, independent board
that will provide effective oversight of the accounting profession. This board
would have the ability to monitor, investigate and enforce high ethical principles
by punishing individual offenders. My administration is working with congressional
leaders in both parties to pass legislation that will protect workers and shareholders
I am pleased that the Senate approved several of my new proposals this week.
The Senate, the House and my administration will not stop working until a final
bill is passed.
Strengthening the economy and protecting the homeland and fighting the war on
terror are critical issues that demand prompt attention. I urge the Congress
to act on all these issues before they adjourn for their August recess.