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Bush challenges Democrats at news conference

President Bush targeted the democratic members of congress Wednesday, saying they had passed little important legislation. Bush spoke at a wide-ranging news conference in which he challenged Democrats on a number of issues. Wednesday morning at the White House Bush pushed an aggressive agenda -- while often berating the Democratic-controlled congress. Bush said, "There's little time left in the year, and Congress has little to show for all the time that has gone by. Now is the time for them to act." With both the housing secretary and fed chairman recently offering somber assessments of the housing crisis, Mr. Bush urged Congress to adopt reforms he proposed in August. Bush said, "I don't think we ought to be providing bail-outs for lenders. But I do think we ought to put policy in place that help people stay in their home." The President also stood by his veto of a bill that would expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $35 billion. Bush said, "I don't like plans that move people from -- encourage people to move from private medicine to the public, and that's what's happening under this bill." But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sitting with an SCHIP family, made one last push for this week's over-ride vote. Pelosi said, "The President is alone, and he's dragging some of his own members with him down this path." And as the campaign to elect the country's next president heats up, Mr. Bush was asked if he was afraid of being increasingly irrelevant. "Quite the contrary," Bush said. "I've never felt more engaged and more capable of helping people recognize -- American people recognize that there's a lot of unfinished business. And, you know, I'm really looking forward to the next 15 months." The President asked Congress to pass a new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which authorizes foreign and domestic wiretapping. The current law expires in February.

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