WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration, pointing to some high profile arrests and a congressional agreement to crack down on corporate fraud, said Thursday that the economy's underlying strength will see the nation through its difficulties
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, the president's chief economic spokesman, told a manufacturing group that the agreement reached Wednesday by a House-Senate conference committee will "nail on the wall the clear requirement for corporate accountability."
O'Neill said that agreement, which Congress was expected to pass quickly and President Bush is eager to sign, will go a long way in restoring investor confidence in the reliability of corporate financial reports.
Another important milestone, he said, was the Aug. 14 deadline the Securities and Exchange Commission has set for the nation's biggest companies to certify the accuracy of their financial reports.
"I am confident that no CEO will take the risk of certifying falsely. So we are providing the basis for a clean start," O'Neill said in remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers.
O'Neill's appearance was part of an orchestrated White House response to show that the Bush administration, contrary to Democratic charges, is actively rooting out corporate corruption and doing everything possible to keep the fledgling economic recovery on track.
"In the end, confidence comes not from the talking heads on television, but from the fundamentals. And the fundamental strength of our economy is good," said O'Neill.
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