Hoyer Says Bush Needs to Address Nation

Posted September 23, 2008 at 12:42pm

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that President Bush has a responsibility to go on national television and explain why he is asking Congress to approve $700 billion to bail out sinking financial institutions.

Bush needs to tell Americans “why he is suggesting this needs to be done,” Hoyer said, and it will take “more than 120 seconds in the Rose Garden saying, ‘We’ve got a problem.’”

Hoyer said he didn’t think “there’s any Member comfortable with this request” and said House leaders have been reworking the administration-crafted package to add oversight.

White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto declined to comment on whether Bush will address the country to discuss the economic crisis and explain his solution for it.

“If we have a scheduling change, we’ll announce it,” Fratto said.

Hoyer said he is hoping to bring the bailout bill to the floor on Thursday or Friday. He said he has not discussed the possibility of working over the Jewish holidays because he is hopeful that legislative business “won’t go that far.”

Other major bills, including a continuing resolution and an economic stimulus package, are also on tap this week but have not been set for a specific day. Hoyer said bills relating to disaster relief, the alternative minimum tax, Amtrak and the fiscal 2009 defense authorization will surface on the suspension calendar.