updated 12/16/2003 12:03:29 PM ET 2003-12-16T17:03:29

President Bush is clearing his desk before the holidays, signing seven bills that will stem the flood of unwanted e-mail pitches, help needy families buy their first homes and give flight attendants lessons in self-defense.

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In the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, Bush was to sign the so-called “can spam” legislation. Passed by Congress earlier this month, the measure outlaws the persistent techniques used by e-mailers who send tens of millions of messages each day to peddle their products and services.

The bill would supplant tougher anti-spam laws already passed in some states, including California. It also encourages the Federal Trade Commission to create a do-not-spam list of e-mail addresses and includes penalties for spammers of up to five years in prison in rare circumstances.

“Spam and unsolicited e-mails are annoying to consumers and are costly to U.S. business,” Claire Buchan, deputy White House press secretary said. “This legislation will help address the problems associated with the growth and abuse of spam.”

In the afternoon, the president was to go to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to sign the American Dream Downpayment Act. It is aimed at helping families that can afford monthly mortgage payments but not the initial costs associated with buying a house.

Three-fourths of non-minority Americans own their own homes, but less than half of blacks, Hispanics and other minorities are homeowners. Through grants to state and local governments, low-income families would receive an average of about $5,000 to be help cover downpayment and closing costs on a first home.

The other bills Bush will sign are:

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