WASHINGTON— President Bush announced today that he will sign a bill providing an additional $2.8 billion for private organizations that emphasize the importance of hoping for change.
"This bill acknowledges the immeasurable role of hope in envisioning a better world for everyone," Bush said during a press conference. "Starting today, I ask all Americans to hope together as one nation that the difficult problems that grip our nation will go away someday."
The president's move will help direct federal funds to such groups as the National Hope Foundation, which has been hoping for a cure for cancer for nearly two decades.
"There are many in our country who are without hope," Bush said. "Yet there are many respected organizations in America that are actively hoping things get better. This program will assist these organizations in obtaining government grants, which will allow them to continue the important hoping that must be done."
Among the programs likely to receive funding is Project Hope You Don't Get Sick, a non-profit organization hoping that over 45 million Americans receive the proper health care they need.
Dream Job United, another likely recipient, is a widely acclaimed program in which the ill-prepared and uneducated are trained to hope for job interviews at top companies.
Another project slated for assistance in is a Louisiana-based teen-pregnancy reduction program, in which volunteers hope teens abstain from intercourse.
Under the bill, wish-based initiatives will also be eligible for increased funding. Dozens of independent wishful-thinking foundations, such as America Wishes Things Were Better, expect to receive grants to fund distribution of pennies, wishbones, and birthday candles.
Those with wishes and hopes applauded the president's move, saying that faith alone cannot rectify the nation's social ills.
"Faith-based problem-solving is noble, but we should not discount the power of hope," said veteran hoper Howard Thorndike, who heads the Please Oh Please Institute, a Houston-based wish tank. "'Hail Mary' strategies, for example, are a part of the fabric of our nation, from the football field to the boardroom, and our government ignores such traditions at its peril."
Bush echoed Thorndike's sentiments. "As your president, I have seen firsthand what hoping can do," he said. "I have heard stories of decent people trapped under piles of rubble, and I have hoped that they would be rescued. And eventually, many were. Recently, powerful storms and destructive hurricanes ravaged some of our great cities. I hope that you will join me in wishing that we do not get hit by any more of those."
Bush added: "Laura and I hope every night that good things will happen for our great country. My fellow Americans, I call on you to do the same."