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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks on the Savings and Loan Crisis

1989-02-03

The President. While we have the quick exposure here, let me just thank you all, Mr. Speaker, Leader Mitchell, Dole, Bob Michel, for coming down here. This is a listening session. We've got a big problem in this savings and loan. There are no easy answers and no worrying about the blame -- plenty to go around. I want to see the problem solved. We've had a lot of consultation up on the Hill, and good consultation. And Treasury will come, I think, to meet me tomorrow to present their views, but they're not being presented here with this stacked deck. We need ideas, and if we're overlooking something, we want to know what it is.

But I think we all agree that it's time to get on with the problem. And so, what I wanted to do this morning is simply ask your advice and listen. And whatever we come up with will not be popular. And I expect then whatever you come up with will not be popular, but we've got to get on and get the problem solved. And I appreciate your coming down here early to discuss this today, and then I'll be meeting, as I say, some more today. And then tomorrow I think we have more final recommendations. I'll go out with it publicly probably early next week -- I think that's the plan -- and see where we go from there.

But, Speaker, if you can talk, you're entitled a rebuttal. [Laughter]

Speaker Wright. I'm not sure, Mr. President, that any rebuttal is necessary. We're here to listen, and we're here to join with you in trying to find some creative solution to a very serious problem.

Majority Leader Mitchell. I think the Speaker has expressed it for all of us, Mr. President. We want to work with you. This is a serious problem for the country; it's not just for us. We've got to do the best we can to come up with the fairest, most efficient way to solve it.

The President. Before we break up here to start on our consultations, let me say -- and I think I speak for everybody here -- that the safety of those deposits is guaranteed, will continue to be guaranteed, and that there should be no feeling around the country that some solution will do anything to diminish the credit of the United States being behind the deposits in the FSLIC [Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation], FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation], whatever it is. And I thought I'd just take this occasion to make that statement. Thank you all very much, and now let's all go to work.

Note: The President spoke at 8:04 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, prior to a meeting with congressional leaders. In his opening remarks, the President referred to Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives; George J. Mitchell and Robert Dole, majority and minority leaders of the Senate, respectively; and Robert H. Michel, ranking minority member of the House of Representatives.

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