WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Tuesday the economicdamage to the nation will be "painful and lasting" if Congressfails to pass a $700 billion bailout bill.

Bush said the troubled economy is depending on "decisive actionon the part of our government." He spoke a day after the Housevoted narrowly to defeat the massive relief measure that hisadministration and leading members of Congress had agreed wasnecessary.

Bush said he wanted to "assure our citizens and citizens aroundthe world that this is not the end of the legislative process."

He also said "it matters little what path a bill takes tobecome law. What matters is that we get a law. We're at a criticalmoment in our economy."

The president said he acknowledges "this is a difficult votefor members of Congress"and that many are uncomfortable withwhat's transpiring in the economy. But he also declared: "We're inan urgent situation and consequences will grow worse each day we donot act. If our nation continues on this course, the economicdamage will be painful and lasting."

"We're facing a choice between action and the real prospect ofeconomic hardship for millions of Americans," Bush added. "Forthe financial security of many Americans, Congress must act."