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Bush promises action, and results, on economic issues

WASHINGTON -- President Bush, looking to build momentum in Congress for his second-term economic agenda, pledged yesterday not to ignore challenges to the nation's financial health and ''leave them to another day."

''We have a duty to the American people to act on these issues, and we will get results," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

The remarks were a continuation of a broad campaign by Bush, begun last week with a two-day economic conference sponsored by the White House, to boost support for his economic plans.

In the radio speech and at the forum, Bush and his economic team made a pitch for major second-term priorities such as overhauling Social Security, simplifying the tax code, making previously passed tax cuts permanent, limiting alleged lawsuit abuse, and curbing the growth of government spending.

''I will work with members of both political parties to confront these problems so we can keep our economy flexible, innovative, and competitive, and so America remains the best place in the world to do business," Bush said yesterday. ''I will not ignore these challenges and leave them to another day."

The forum featured hardly a dissenting view to Bush's second-term proposals or his optimistic assessments of the economy. But he characterized it as ''an important conference on America's economic future" that allowed discussion with people from many backgrounds.

Many of Bush's proposals are highly controversial.

Democrats say that the administration should focus on rolling back tax cuts that went primarily to the wealthy as a better way to control budget deficits, rather than trying to make them permanent at a cost of more than $1 trillion.

Democrats also have criticized Bush for a net job loss during his presidency.

The economy has struggled to create new jobs during the recovery from the 2001 recession. On Friday the administration reduced its forecast of jobs that will be created next year, saying the economy will produce 2.1 million new jobs. A year ago, it said 3.6 million jobs would be created in 2005.

''Our economy has come through a lot these past four years," the president said. ''And now our people are benefiting from solid economic growth, steady gains in new jobs, record home ownership, and rising family incomes."

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