President George W. Bush on Friday topped off a politically-charged week full of hearings on the failing U.S. automotive industry, statements from a variety of regulatory officials pleading greater oversight on TARP funds and shocking reports of jobless claims. In public statements delivered midday on the South Lawn of the White House, Bush said the administration will do what it can to keep the economy afloat before the transition to an Obama Administration in January. “A root cause of the slowdown is housing, and so we continue to take actions that will avoid preventable foreclosures and speed a return to a healthy housing market,” he said. A key to the housing market’s recovery is interest rates, which are going down. “And plus there’s a number of programs in place to help Americans stay in their homes, to limit the preventable foreclosures.” Bush also urged Congress to act next week on the plan to bail out the U.S. auto industry and to ensure any taxpayer money used will eventually be paid back. Although he acknowledged it will take time for federal action to have a substantial impact on the economy, he said his administration “is committed to ensuring that our economy succeeds. And I know the incoming administration shares the same commitment.” President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday joined the call for greater TARP oversight and increased government action in the housing market. “We’ve got to start helping homeowners in a serious way prevent foreclosures,” he said. “The deteriorating assets in the financial markets are rooted in the deterioration of people being able to pay their mortgages and stay in their homes.” Write to Diana Golobay at diana.golobay@housingwire.com.

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