Good morning. As Congress approaches the August recess, it must take decisive
steps to provide economic security to the American people, to demand high ethical
standards from corporate leaders, to promote economic growth and job creation,
and to curb its appetite for excessive spending.
We must promote economic security by enforcing high ethical standards for American
businesses. Unethical business practices by corporate leaders amount to theft
and fraud. These practices are unacceptable, and we are fighting them with active
prosecutions and tough enforcement by the SEC. We will defend the rights and
interests of every American worker and shareholder, and we will not accept anything
less than complete honesty.
The House and Senate have both passed strong corporate accountability bills
that toughen penalties and provide transparency and hold corporate executives
accountable for their behavior. I am confident that the differences between
the House and Senate approaches can be bridged.
Some in Congress have predicted that it will take two months for the House and
Senate to send a bill to my desk. There is no good reason for the legislative
process to take that long. I call again on Congress to pass a bill before the
August recess. It's time to act decisively to bring a new era of integrity to
We must also increase economic security for American workers through expanded
trade. For over a year now, the United States Congress has debated trade promotion
authority. This week, I met with members of the House and Senate to urge them
to resolve their differences and approve a bill. If Congress waits, less markets
will be open to American goods, and less jobs will be created for American workers.
To promote our economic security, we also need to act on a terrorism insurance
bill. Until Congress sends a bill to my desk, some buildings will not be able
to get coverage against terrorist attacks and many new buildings will not be
built at all. Commercial development is stalling and workers are missing out
on these jobs.
This year alone, the lack of terrorism insurance has killed or delayed more
than $8 billion in commercial property financing. Congress should pass a terrorism
insurance bill without unnecessary measures that increase frivolous litigation.
Finally, we must promote economic security by enforcing fiscal restraint. Congress
must control its enormous appetite for excessive spending so we can meet our
national priorities and return to a budget surplus without undermining our economy.
Unless Congress controls its spending, we will face a decade of deficits. I
will insist on and, if necessary, I will enforce discipline in federal spending.
This is a crucial moment for the American economy. The economic fundamentals
are strong. Inflation and interest rates are low. Productivity is increasing
and the economy is expanding, which creates more jobs. While the economy is
growing stronger, confidence in our free enterprise system is being tested.
Unethical business conduct that began in the boom of the 1990s is being uncovered.
Investors have lost money. Some in retirement have lost security. Workers have
lost jobs, and the trust of the American people has been betrayed.
As we face these economic challenges, my administration will do everything in
its power to ensure business integrity and long-term growth. We must act quickly
and aggressively on a variety of fronts to increase the economic security of
the American people, and I ask the Congress to join me in this urgent task.