President Bush will break off his vacation today to return to Washington for two days of briefings on the crisis in the Persian Gulf and on the budget deficit, the White House said today.
Bush plans to return to his oceanfront summer home Wednesday after a military briefing and speech to Pentagon employees, White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater said.
Bush arrived in Maine on Friday for a scheduled 25-day vacation, but said then that the standoff in the Middle East with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would probably require him to go "back and forth" to the White House.
Fitzwater, briefing reporters at a seaside hotel near Bush's Walkers Point home, said Bush will leave for Washington around noon Tuesday and meet with his top advisers on the budget and efforts to forge a deal with leaders of Congress on reducing the deficit.
Bush will hold a news conference to discuss the budget problems after his session with Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady, Budget Director Richard G. Darman and others, Fitzwater said.
The President will go to the Pentagon on Wednesday morning for a briefing on the military situation in the gulf, where he has sent an estimated 50,000 troops, squadrons of fighter jets and a flotilla of ships to defend Saudi Arabia and pressure Hussein to withdraw his occupying army from Kuwait.
The United States is leading international efforts to enforce United Nations-ordered economic sanctions against Iraq, which has 100,000 or more troops massed in Kuwait.
"We assess the impact of the embargo as excellent," Fitzwater said.
Bush called Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez today to discuss the gulf situation and world oil supplies, Fitzwater said.
U.S. officials have said Venezuela, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is stepping up oil production to help offset the cutoff of Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil.