Remarks Following a Cabinet Meeting
I have asked my Cabinet to come in and give me a briefing on the progress that we're making on the war on terrorism. I can report to the American people we're making substantial progress.
First, our Secretary of State and our diplomats around the world have put together a broad coalition of nations to make a stand against terrorists, terrorism, and those who harbor terrorists. And I'm really pleased. This coalition includes not only our friends in Europe and South America, but as we saw at the OIC conference, the Organization of Islamic Conferences, many Muslim nations have taken a very firm stand against terrorist activities, as well.
Obviously, the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Department has been busy. As I said today, America is very proud of the men and women who wear the uniform; they're proud of your leadership too, sir. We'll leave the military briefing for the Pentagon.
I had a good visit with our Secretary of Treasury, who informed me that we've now frozen $40 million worth of assets— Taliban and Al Qaida assets all around the world, and we've just begun. We want the terrorists to know that we're after them in all kinds of ways, and one good way to make them ineffective is to cut off their money.
The Attorney General has reported that here at the homeland—in the homeland we've interrogated over 600 people that may have been involved with the bombings, as well as spending a great deal of time analyzing information that could lead to the disruption of any potential attack on America.
And then we discussed our legislative priorities before the Congress goes home. One of those, of course, is an economic stimulus package that must include tax relief that has got a positive effect on the economy in the short run.
But there are two other aspects to a good, strong economic stimulus package, one of which is trade promotion authority. And the other is an energy bill. Now, there was a good energy bill passed out of the House of Representatives. And the reason it passed is because members of both parties understand an energy bill is not only good for jobs, it's important for our national security to have a good energy policy.
And I urge the Senate to listen to the will of the Senators and move a bill—move a bill that will help Americans find work and also make it easier for all of us around this table to protect the security of the country. The less dependent we are on foreign sources of crude oil, the more secure we are at home.
We've spent a lot of time talking about homeland security. An integral piece of homeland security is energy independence. And I ask the Senate to respond to the call to get an energy bill moving.
We have got a lot of work to do, and everybody around this table understands that. We're a patient group of people; we're a disciplined group of people. But one thing we've got in mind as well is, we've got the best interests of the American people in mind. And I'm proud of the job everybody is doing here. I want to thank you on behalf of America for your hard work.
I will see you all tonight.
NOTE: The President spoke at 3:02 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
George W. Bush, Remarks Following a Cabinet Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/216253