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Bush seeks up to $75B
October 3, 2001: 11:29 a.m. ET

President says stimulus package meant to aid business, workers
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - President George Bush said Wednesday his administration will seek a package of measures worth as much as $75 billion to help boost the U.S. economy after last month's terrorist attacks.

At a news conference in New York, the president said the administration will seek a stimulus package of $60 billion to $75 billion "to encourage consumer confidence, enhance business investment, as well as to take care of displaced workers."

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The president spoke after meeting with business leaders on his second trip to New York since the Sept. 11 attacks.

His remarks came a day after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the ninth time this year and the second time since the attacks in a bid to boost the struggling U.S. economy.

Separately, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told the Senate Finance Committee he thought the U.S. economy, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), would shrink in the third quarter.

Many economists think the terror attacks will sink the U.S. economy into a recession, commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP. But O'Neill said he thought the economy could return to growth in the fourth quarter if consumer confidence rebounds quickly.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
O'Neill also discussed the president's stimulus plan, describing no specific aspects of it but saying it should focus on short-term solutions to avoid future government fiscal problems that would harm the economy.

If Congress approves a plan of $60 billion to $75 billion, that would bring the total stimulus approved by the government since Sept. 11 to well over the $100 billion many economists -- including Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan -- believe is needed to be effective.

Greenspan backs the stimulus package and thinks it should be done soon, according to Congressional leaders who met with him in Washington Wednesday. Two other economists, White House Economic Adviser Lawrence Lindsey and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, also support the move.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R.-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, told CNNfn's Money Gang program he wanted any further stimulus package to be made up mostly of tax cuts, since the $55 billion already approved -- $40 billion in emergency relief and a $15 billion for an airline bailout -- was exclusively spending.

"If we do not have changes that encourage investment, we're not going to be able to get a bill passed," Grassley said.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D.-S.D., said it likely would take weeks for Congress to approve the president's package and suggested Congressional Democrats preferred a stimulus of closer to $50 billion. graphic

- from staff and wire reports


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