First Priority Is Protecting S&L; Depositors, President Says

Associated Press

President Bush said today the worsening savings and loan crisis "causes me great concern" and the first priority of government policy-makers is to protect the depositors.

"We don't know the impact on the taxpayer yet," Bush told a news conference in the White House briefing room, a day after Administration officials released a new assessment of the problem.

Bush said Administration officials "don't know a specific figure" for the ultimate cost of the bailout, but Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady testified on some "broad parameters that are on the record"--about $132 billion.

"What we are going to do about it is have negotiations with the Congress, and out of this I am sure that we will have an answer that Congress agrees with," the President said, referring to the budget negotiations under way.

"We can't brush this problem under the rug. It has been building for 20 years, and it is something that causes me great concern," Bush said.

"We do know that we are going to protect the depositors, and that is what this is all about," Bush said. "It isn't protecting any savings and loan people. It is protecting the depositors."

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