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Remarks by the President Before Bipartisan Meeting on the Economy With Democratic and Republican Congressional Leadership

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Location: Washington, DC


REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT BEFORE BIPARTISAN MEETING ON THE ECONOMY WITH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP

Roosevelt Room

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is great to see you. We are here together once again, a couple of weeks after our first meeting. My initial message is to thank the leadership for a range of actions that they have taken early to meet some of the urgent requirements of the times.

First of all, I want to thank all the leadership in the Senate for moving expeditiously on a number of my nominations; people have been extraordinarily cooperative. I think it's been unprecedented, the speed with which we've gotten a number of nominations done.

I want to thank both the House and the Senate for moving forward very diligently on this process of getting a recovery and renewal plan passed. I know that it is a heavy lift to do something as substantial as we're doing right now. I recognize that there are still some differences around the table and between the administration and members of Congress about particularly details on the plan.

But what I think unifies this group is a recognition that we are experiencing a unprecedented, perhaps, economic crisis that has to be dealt with, and dealt with rapidly. And I've asked Larry Summers to give me a daily economic intelligence briefing so that we are monitoring what's happening -- and frankly, the news has not been good. Each day brings I think greater focus on the problems that we're having not only in terms of job loss, but also in terms of some of the instabilities in the financial system.

So for all of you who have moved as quickly as you have -- including during some holiday seasons -- to start moving this economic recovery package through, to create 3 to 4 million new jobs, that is going to be absolutely critical. And it appears that we are on target to make our President's Day weekend, and I thank both Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi for that.

One last point that I want to make -- the recovery package that we're passing is only going to be one leg in a -- at least a three-legged stool. And some of the reports that we've seen over the last couple of days about companies that have received taxpayer assistance, then going out and renovating bathrooms or offices, or in other ways not managing those dollars appropriately, the lack of accountability and transparency in how we are managing some of these programs to stabilize the financial system, and a recent GAO report that speaks to some of the problems of waste in our government, those all have to be part and parcel of a reform package if we're going to be responsible in dealing with this economic crisis.

And I'm looking forward to having conversations with all the leadership here about how, even as we move swiftly and aggressively on the recovery package, we are also starting to put in place the kinds of reform elements, oversight, transparency, accountability, that's going to be required in order for the American people to have confidence in what we're doing.

So I thank you again for your great work, and we're looking forward to having a frank conversation, as we always do when we get together.

Okay, guys. Thank you, guys. Thank you very much.


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