President Bush today challenged charges that his Administration is adrift, saying he is trying to defuse “ticking time bombs” while charting an agenda for America in the next century.
“In this kind of work, more is going on than meets the eye--or makes the headlines,” Bush said.
In a state where savings and loan failures have become regular events, Bush prodded Congress to move quickly on his 3-week-old plan to save the beleaguered industry. “There’s no excuse for further delay,” he said.
“The essential question today is, ‘What are we doing to prepare for the new world that begins 11 short years from now?’ ” he said. “That’s what my agenda is all about.”
In his first trip west since his inauguration Jan. 20, the President flew to Texas and Colorado for a pair of speeches.
Before the Forum Club in Houston, Bush ticked off a series of initiatives from his new Administration: a spending and deficit-reduction plan, a program to relieve Third World debt, a proposal to rescue the S&L; industry and an increase in the minimum wage.
On the thrifts crisis, Bush again assured depositors that their savings are safe. “They are fully protected and will continue to be fully protected,” he said. In recent months, S&L; customers have been withdrawing deposits at a record rate, primarily due to higher returns in money markets.
Bush said the S&L; industry must be cleaned up “so that the questionable practices and outright illegalities that caused the current crisis won’t happen again.”
Moreover, he said, “We must see to it that those S&L; officials guilty of criminal actions are pursued and punished for the losses they have caused.
“These are serious challenges--ticking time bombs that we need to defuse without delay. And we’re doing just that.