President Bush, stressing the inherent strength and flexibility of the U.S. economy, sent Congress Tuesday an optimistic economic outlook that calls for a solid recovery from the recession.

The administration projects real economic growth to be about 0.9 percent this year, with the recession continuing through the first quarter before recovery begins near the middle of the year."My administration's economic policies are designed both to mitigate the current downturn and to provide for a solid recovery and the highest possible rate of sustainable economic growth," Bush said in his annual economic report to Congress.

The president's report, prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers, comes at a time of war, recession and depressed consumer confidence - a marked contrast from just a year ago when the decline of communism seemed to invigorate the prospects of prosperity.

The dramatic change of events, however, has not dampened the administration's outlook for a resumption of the nation's economic expansion.

"In my economic report last year, I stated that I looked forward to the 1990s with hope and optimism," Bush wrote in this year's report. "Despite the economic events of 1990, we have reason for both hope and optimism in full measure as the nation approaches the next American century."

The president acknowledged that the U.S. economic output declined in the fourth quarter of last year when "it became clear that the economy had entered a recession."

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The president stressed his optimism that the downturn will be only a "temporary interruption" to the pattern of economic growth established in the past decade.

"This temporary interruption in America's economic growth does not signal a decline in the basic long-term vitality of the U.S. economy," Bush said in the report.

"The events of 1990 were a reminder that even a healthy economy can suffer shocks and short-term setbacks," Bush said. "With sound economic policies in place, there is no fundamental obstacle to an expansion in the 1990s at least as long and strong as the record expansion of the 1980s."

The theme of the president's 1991 economic message is "flexibility" primarily in government policy."

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