September 19, 2008 / 3:00 PM / 11 years ago

Bush: Intervention needed to solve debt problems

President Bush makes remarks on the economy in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington September 19, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said on Friday that government intervention was necessary to solve the problems roiling the financial markets, calling it a “pivotal moment for America’s economy.”

“We must act now to protect our nation’s economic health,” Bush said, after plans were unveiled to address financial institutions’ toxic mortgage debt.

“Given the precarious state of today’s financial markets and their vital importance to the daily lives of the American people, government intervention is not only warranted, it is essential,” he said at the White House.

Bush said it was important to address the root cause behind market instability, adding that the United States needed a program to buy illiquid assets from banks and other financial institutions.

“America’s economy is facing unprecedented challenges, and we are responding with unprecedented action,” Bush said.

He said it was important that Congress pass legislation quickly without adding on “controversial provisions that could delay action.”

Earlier, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson called for a rescue plan of hundreds of billions of dollars to tackle financial market turmoil and said that this was the best long-run hope of saving taxpayers money.

“This is a decisive step that will address underlying problems in our financial system,” Bush said. “It will help take pressure off the balance sheets of banks and other financial institutions. It will allow them to resume lending and get our financial system moving again.”

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Jan Paschal

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