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In Mo., McCain Says Bill Failure Would Hurt Economy

Sen. John McCain pays his respects at the burial site of President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess Wallace Truman, after speaking on the economy at the Truman Library in Missouri on Wednesday.
Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
Sen. John McCain pays his respects at the burial site of President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess Wallace Truman, after speaking on the economy at the Truman Library in Missouri on Wednesday.

John McCain used the Harry Truman Library & Museum in Independence, Mo., as a backdrop on Wednesday as he called for bipartisan support of the financial rescue package.

"Following Sept. 11, our national leaders came together in a time of crisis," he said. "Now with this measure, we have another chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country. If the financial rescue bill fails in Congress yet again, the present crisis will turn into disaster."

McCain painted a bleak picture of what would happen if the rescue plan fails and credit dries up. Students couldn't get loans. Families wouldn't be able to buy new homes or cars, and businesses would be unable to pay their workers.

"If we fail to act, the gears of our economy will grind to a halt," he said.

McCain is confident that enough lawmakers have now recognized that danger and will support the rescue, but he also said it should not take a crisis to get Congress working together.

"Our government is on the wrong track. Our economy is struggling. And I expect we'll receive more bad news with Friday's unemployment report. It is now a time for leadership and a plan to create jobs and get our country on the right track. I know how to do that," he added.

McCain repeated his call for lower taxes, restrained government spending and offshore oil drilling. He said he would freeze discretionary spending for a year to help offset the cost of the rescue plan, although he had already proposed the spending freeze as a way to help pay for his tax cuts.

McCain suggested that Harry Truman was more successful as a president than anyone expected — including Truman — because he put the country's needs ahead of his party's or his own.

McCain said the country would be better served today if more people in Washington followed that example.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.