WASHINGTON - Brushing aside Democratic demands for more spending, President Bush urged Congress yesterday to approve at least $60 billion in additional tax relief to revive an economy that seems headed toward recession.

Bush asserted that Congress has already approved enough new spending - an identical $60 billion - to help the nation recover from the terrorist attacks and their effect on the economy.

Now, to "make sure that the economy gets the boost it needs," the president said, it is time to cut taxes beyond the $1.35 trillion he proposed and Congress enacted earlier this year.

"Congress doesn't need to spend any more money," Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden.

"What they need to do is to cut taxes."

The president made his remarks a day after meeting with House Republicans, some of whom have grown irritated as Bush has continued to support billions of dollars in emergency spending, with little mention of further tax cuts.

These lawmakers hold dear a bedrock conservative conviction: that easing the tax burden on individuals and businesses is the surest way to energize a weak economy.

Bush called on lawmakers to "as quickly as possible, pass tax relief equal to or a little bit greater than the monies that we have already appropriated."

The president noted that Congress has already approved billions to pay for recovery efforts, help the paralyzed airline industry, tighten airport security and extend more benefits to the unemployed.

Bush has now staked out his position in what will likely be a pitched debate among lawmakers, who are expected to move quickly in coming weeks to put together an economic stimulus package.

Harder to forge compromise

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle suggested yesterday that Bush's intention to focus solely on tax cuts could make it harder to forge a compromise.

"I fear that some of the more extreme voices in the Congress are now pressuring the administration to take a more divisive approach to the stimulus legislation," the Democratic leader said.

"We must resist those partisan influences and continue to take the best ideas advanced by both parties."

Specifically, Bush said, he would like to see Congress accelerate the cuts in marginal tax rates that were part of his 10-year tax package approved in the spring. Those rate cuts are scheduled to begin taking effect next year.

Relief at low end

Bush also said he supports some kind of relief for low- and moderate-income workers, many of whom were left out of the first tax cut because they earn too little money to owe income tax.

Their primary tax burden, Social Security payroll taxes, was unchanged in the first round of tax cuts.

Administration officials said yesterday that the president was open to direct tax rebates for these workers, an idea favored by many Democrats.