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Bush renews emphasis on farm bill reform

President Bush called on Congress to deal with the nation's concerns about the economy Tuesday by opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil production and making his administration's tax cuts permanent.

Bush also touched briefly on the developing farm bill when he acknowledged that Americans are concerned about rising food prices.

"Unfortunately, Congress is considering a massive, bloated farm bill that would do little to solve the problem," he said.

The bill will continue payments to millionaire farmers, he said.

"This is the right time to reform our farm policy by reducing unnecessary subsidies," he said.

When asked about a World Bank study that showed that 85% of corn price increases are due to demand for biofuels, Bush said it was his understanding that it's the other way around, that 85% of food price increases are caused by other factors and that maybe 15% of the increases are due to biofuels.

He refused to say whether he supports a moratoirum on gasoline taxes, as called for by presidential candidates, Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton and opposed by by Senator Barack Obama. He also said that stopping additions to the strategic petroleum reserve would not affect oil prices because the additions of about 68,000 barrels a day represents only a tenth of one percent of global oil demand.

President Bush called on Congress to deal with the nation's concerns about the economy Tuesday by opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil production and making his administration's tax cuts permanent.

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