NEW YORK (AFP) — US President George W. Bush on Monday warned lawmakers wary of his 700-billion-dollar debt bailout scheme that "failure to act would have broad consequences" for the battered US economy.
"Americans are watching to see if Democrats and Republicans, the Congress and the White House, can come together to solve this problem with the urgency it warrants," Bush said in a statement.
"Indeed, the whole world is watching to see if we can act quickly to shore up our markets and prevent damage to our capital markets, businesses, our housing sector, and retirement accounts," he said amid growing doubts about the rescue plan's fate in the US Congress.
The Bush administration has demanded lawmakers move quickly on the plan unveiled Friday to address the gravest financial crisis since the Great Depression, warning that the economy could collapse without prompt action.
"Working together, I am confident we can enact the legislation necessary to prevent lasting damage to our economy and meet the unique challenge facing us today," the US president said.
Leaders of the Democratic-controlled Congress voiced support for the plan to buy the toxic mortgage-related assets of financial institutions but also said there should be some help for ordinary Americans hammered by the worst housing slump in decades.
And some have raised questions about oversight of the plan, and curbs on what they call excessive compensation for top executives.
"We will not simply hand over a 700 billion dollar blank check to Wall Street and hope for a better outcome. Democrats will act responsibly to insulate Main Street from Wall Street," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday.
But Bush warned Monday that "failure to act would have broad consequences far beyond Wall Street. It would threaten small business owners and homeowners on Main Street."
"Obviously, there will be differences over some details, and we will have to work through them. That is an understandable part of the policy making process," the US president said.
"But it would not be understandable if members of Congress sought to use this emergency legislation to pass unrelated provisions, or to insist on provisions that would undermine the effectiveness of the plan," he said.
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