Public Papers - 1991
Remarks on Fast Track Authority Extension and an Exchange With Reporters
The President. Let me just thank the leaders for coming down here today to discuss the extension of Fast Track. And, as you all know, Fast Track means the ability to negotiate trade agreements. The export side of our economy has fueled our economic growth in recent years, and we need this Fast Track authority to negotiate trade agreements that will open markets, keep our exports strong, and create jobs and, frankly, sustain our leadership in the world economy. And I appreciate it.
I know some are undecided. I know many are strongly committed here. But I appreciate your coming down because this is priority and we are going all out. I'm grateful to the majority leader who is not with us today, but he's down in Mexico -- I know last night, discussing this and whether -- how it comes out, I don't know. But I think that kind of inquiry is very, very helpful. And I just want to thank you all for your interest and hope that we can convince those -- perhaps mostly out here today that this is the right thing for the United States. And I'm convinced it is, and I also think it's good for our neighbors to the south that I'm determined not to neglect, say nothing of Europe.
In any event, why, I appreciate your coming.
Q. Will lowering the discount rate encourage lower interest rates worldwide, Mr. President?
The President. Lowering the discount rate -- and the Fed just announced a half-point reduction to 5.5 percent from 6 percent, and this is good. This will stimulate our economy. I think it will help worldwide as well. It is very good news, and I think it will be well-received in this country. And I hope that it will have a strong effect internationally. We are the largest economy in the world. And if ours is robust and growing, that benefits everybody else, in my view.
Q. Do you hope banks follow suit, Mr. President, and follow the prime rate?
The President. Well, I'll leave that to the markets. I won't go into all that, but I think clearly -- and traditionally that has happened, and I certainly expect it to happen.
Q. What about the Germans, sir?
The President. There are problems, and people have different problems in their countries. Some are much more concerned about inflation than other countries -- but this is a very strong leadership role by the Fed now that will be helpful, I think, around the world -- and certainly be helpful to our economy that needs a kick now, needs a boost.
Note: The President spoke at 10:03 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, prior to a meeting with the bipartisan leadership of the House of Representatives. In his remarks, he referred to Richard A. Gephardt, House majority leader. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.