Tags: Bush: | Economy | Strong

Bush: Economy Strong

Saturday, 22 September 2001 12:00 AM

"Our country's wealth is not contained in glass and steel," Bush said, alluding to the ruins of the toppled World Trade Center towers in his weekly radio address.

The broadcast echoed themes the president framed in a nationally televised address to Congress on Thursday, when he vowed to "rebuild" New York and punish terrorists responsible for suicide hijacking attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

"They brought down a symbol of American prosperity, but they could not touch its source," Bush said.

"Both parties in both Houses of Congress are united in our determination to use the fundamental strength of our economy to meet our immediate economic challenges," Bush said.

"Many workers lost their jobs this week, especially in the airline and hospitality industries, in restaurants and in tourism, as companies struggle to remain afloat," Bush said.

"Members of Congress are working together, regardless of party, in the best American spirit, to help get our economy moving again," Bush said. "The administration and congressional leaders of both parties have agreed to deliver emergency aid to keep our airlines flying. This will help the airlines maintain short-term stability as they work toward long-term viability for the benefit of all the workers and companies that depend on air travel."

The Senate on Friday night approved a $15 billion airline industry bailout package to help carriers recover from massive losses in the wake of suicide hijackings.

Lawmakers approved 96 to 1 the airline bailout package negotiated between Congress and the White House that would provide $3 billion in immediate funds for air marshals and upgraded ground security, an additional $5 billion in cash to replace lost revenue, and $10 billion in loan guarantees.

Under the measure, the federal government also would agree to pay the airline insurance premiums up to $100 million under the War Risk Insurance Program that provides protection against terrorist attacks, thus keeping the U.S. air transportation system in operation. Without that protection aviation insurance carriers had threatened to ground domestic carriers.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Sept. 11 shut down U.S. airspace, grounding 4,500 commercial and air freight planes just hours after terrorists hijacked three fuel-laden jetliners to attack the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington, possibly killing more than 6,000 people. A fourth hijacked airliner crashed in rural Pennsylvania. The attacks were the worst-ever on U.S. soil.

The government's action placed some airline carriers on the brink of bankruptcy and resulted in the suspension of operations by Midway Airlines.

Financial analysts estimated the airline industry would lose $4.4 billion in 2001 due to the attacks, double the predications before the attacks. Analysts cited higher fuel costs, security costs and lower passenger demand.

Continental and Continental Express announced they would discontinue flights to 10 cities and said they would be reducing its flight schedule by 20 percent and lay off 12,000 workers. Northwest Airlines officials said the company would review whether it would also lay off workers and announce its decision next week. Midway Airlines, based at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, suspended flight operations one day after the terrorist attack and is offering ticket holders full refunds. The Boeing Company, based in Seattle, said it would reduce its workforce by up to 30,000 workers by the end of 2002.

United Airlines and American Airlines, based in Dallas-Fort Worth, both announced they were each cutting 20,000 jobs. Jets owned by United and American were used in the attacks.

In the broader economy, Bush said falling energy prices, the recently enacted tax cut and interests rate cuts by the Federal Reserve would help.

"You can look forward to an improved business climate in America in the years ahead," Bush said.

But the president offered no mention of a possible economic stimulus package to bolster the economy in the wake of the attacks. White House policymakers and lawmakers are discussing possibly offering another round of tax cuts. But some White House officials and lawmakers are leery of acting too quickly with tax cuts, pointing to arguments by economists who say the economic effects of the attacks are still unclear.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Our country's wealth is not contained in glass and steel, Bush said, alluding to the ruins of the toppled World Trade Center towers in his weekly radio address. The broadcast echoed themes the president framed in a nationally televised address to Congress on Thursday,...
Saturday, 22 September 2001 12:00 AM
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