updated 6/4/2005 10:55:08 AM ET 2005-06-04T14:55:08

Bending the ears of lawmakers and their constituents, President Bush used his weekly radio address Saturday to ask Congress to set aside partisan differences and act on energy, trade and spending issues and fix Social Security.

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Bush said that by Congress’ August recess he wants an energy bill on his desk that will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.

He also urged lawmakers to exercise spending restraint. “The House and the Senate have worked together to pass a responsible budget resolution that keeps us on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009,” he said. “Now, Congress must keep its promise to exercise restraint on spending bills and to rein in mandatory spending.”

The president pushed Congress to change Social Security to ensure its future solvency. And he asked the House and Senate to ratify the Central American and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA.

“About 80 percent of products from Central America and the Dominican Republic now enter the United States duty-free,” said Bush, who is flying to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Monday to discuss CAFTA with other Western Hemisphere leaders.

“Yet, American exports to those countries face hefty tariffs,” he said. “CAFTA will level the playing field by making about 80 percent of American exports to Central America and the Dominican Republic duty-free.”

Bush said the agreement would lower barriers in key sectors such as textiles, which he said would make U.S. manufacturers more competitive in the global market.

“CAFTA will make our neighborhood more secure by strengthening young democracies,” he added. “CAFTA is a practical, pro-jobs piece of legislation. And Congress needs to pass it soon.”

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