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Public Papers - 1990

Remarks on Clean Air Legislation at a Meeting With Members of the Senate


The President. Let me just say at the outset of this meeting that I appreciate everybody's coming down. And I want to congratulate the Senate on the Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990. Senators Mitchell, Dole, Baucus, and Chafee have shown real leadership in helping us at last break the legislative logjam on clean air. And at the same time, I think everyone here would agree that a lot of work lies ahead.

Last year I submitted a bill that ensures that future generations in this country will breathe clean air; and we propose to do this through cleaner factories and power plants, cleaner cars, cleaner fuels. And we felt, and we still feel, that we can achieve our goal without major harm to the economy and without a massive job loss. And our legislation and the agreement we've worked out was very carefully balanced. The bill passed by the Senate last night reflects and is based on bipartisan consensus in support of that balanced approach: that we can have cleaner air and a growing economy which continues to produce jobs for the American people.

In that respect, there is no question that the Senate bill is a major step forward, but it is only a first step. And more progress is going to be needed if we're to achieve the balanced bill that I feel is essential. We're going to work to ensure that the bill produced by the House, and ultimately by the conference committee, does not compromise the environmental benefits or the economic balance contained in my original proposal, and certainly contained in that agreement with the Senate leadership.

So, with our friends here, I just want to thank each and every one of you who has played a constructive role in what I think is a major breakthrough, Mr. Leader. And I know Bob and I have talked about it a lot, and I think we all agree to that.

Assistance for Nicaragua and Panama

Q. Mr. President, will you ask Senator Mitchell to break the logjam on Panama and Nicaragua aid?

The President. Yes. [Laughter] I thought you'd never ask.

Note: The President spoke at 2:55 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

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