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Bush urges action on 'business integrity'

Bush urges action on 'business integrity'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A day after the Dow Jones industrial average sank to its lowest level in nearly four years, President Bush urged Congress on Saturday to move quickly to pass a bill enforcing corporate ethical standards.

"It's time to act decisively to bring a new era of integrity to American business," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

The stock market plunge followed months of revelations about questionable accounting practices by some corporations, including Enron and WorldCom.

In-Depth: Markets in Crisis 

"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," Bush said.

"As we face these economic challenges, my administration will do everything in its power to ensure business integrity and long-term growth."

The House and Senate have each passed corporate accountability bills that toughen penalties for corporate wrongdoing and hold executives accountable for their behavior. But they must forge a compromise bill for legislation to be enacted.

"I am confident that the differences between the House and Senate approaches can be bridged," Bush said.

He also pushed Congress to move quickly in other areas, including:

  • Giving the administration trade promotion authority in international trade negotiations through an agreement with Congress.
  • Approving a terrorism insurance bill that would make some commercial buildings eligible for coverage against attacks.
  • Enforcing fiscal restraint, to avoid "a decade of deficits."
  • "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," Bush said.

    U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, expressed support for Bush Saturday.

    "We're working with the president," he told CNN. "We now have a president that we can work with who understands how important it is is to reign in government spending, how important it is to the economy."




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