President George Bush says the U.S. economy is facing tough times because of rising energy and food prices and a sagging housing market.
At a Washington news conference on Tuesday Mr. Bush complained that Democrats are blocking his proposals to deal with energy problems, home foreclosures, and student loans.
He also criticized Congress for failing to approve his plan to drill for oil in an arctic wildlife preserve in the state of Alaska. Mr. Bush says his proposal would significantly add to domestic oil supplies and ease gasoline prices.
Democrats have raised environmental concerns about the drilling in Alaska, and have been pressing for more action to stimulate the economy.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer says Mr. Bush does not understand the difficulties faced by average families, and has no idea how to fix the problems.
Two economic reports published on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence falling to a five- year low, while home prices declined again in many major metropolitan areas.