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Public Papers - 1992 - March

Remarks at a Meeting With Republican Congressional Leaders and an Exchange With Reporters

1992-03-10

The President. May I thank everybody for coming down here. And I want to thank the Republican Members of both the Senate and House.

There are two very important legislative matters on the schedule for this week that I want to discuss with you all and get your advice. First, I appreciate your leadership on both of them, but it looks to us like the Senate is once again poised to follow the lead of their House colleagues and raise taxes again. And the centerpiece of both these bills is a huge tax increase that will kill job creation, particularly by small businesses. And so, there has got to be no mistake about this: Raising taxes on the American people, given the situation, is simply not acceptable. And I'm going to veto that tax increase bill as soon as it's sent to me.

It's hard to believe that they're trying to not only raise the taxes but eliminate one of the best, perhaps the only real fiscal discipline tool that we have, and I'm talking about the caps that came out of the '90 agreement. And they're talking now about getting rid of that, and that latest end-run on controlling Government spending is also destined to be sent right back once it hits this desk in there. I mean, I cannot accept busting the caps on discretionary domestic spending. And I am very grateful for your support, and I look forward to talking about these matters and many others in just a few minutes.

Presidential Primaries and Aid to Former Soviet Union

Q. How do you think you're going to do on Super Tuesday? And is President Nixon correct in saying that you are only giving a penny-ante support to Russia?

The President. Well, on the Super Tuesday, let's just wait. We don't have long to wait for the answer on that one, so I'm going to try to stay out of the prediction business. And I've done it relatively successfully so far, staying out of the prediction business. I was just thanking Senator Thurmond for his wonderful support and leadership that made South Carolina so successful. Phil Gramm here, who's been campaigning like mad, tells me he thinks we'll do well in Texas. I was happy, very happy, with the Georgia results, and I thank Newt here. I'll leave out people because a lot have been working hard, but I think we'll do all right. I think we'll do well.

And secondly, I will be talking to the leadership about how we can be as supportive as possible of Boris Yeltsin. I don't think President Nixon and I have any difference on this. I talked to him yesterday. There are certain fiscal, financial constraints on what we can do, but we have a huge stake in the success of democracy in Russia and in the other C.I.S. countries. And so, we will be working in every way possible to support the forces of democracy. Certainly, we've done a lot in terms of supporting the people that are afflicted by starvation, real hunger, and similarly, on medicine.

So there's a lot of taxpayer money going into this already; most, a lot of it, in terms of guarantees for agricultural products, which are emergency requirements. And we will do what's right, and I'm looking forward to going over this with Mr. Yeltsin when he's here.

Q. Well, do you think his criticism is valid? His seemed to be very personal.

The President. Well, I didn't read it as criticism, Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], because I talked with the man. And I learned to go to the source; I did it before I even saw the story in the paper. But I also had seen his paper itself, and I didn't take it as personally critical. And I think he would reiterate that it wasn't. So, I think it's just useless to react to all these press stories that try to interpret these remarks of a very constructive paper by Richard Nixon. You know, he's got very good ideas on this subject, and we're in very close touch on it.

Note: The President spoke at 9:35 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his remarks he referred to Representative Newt Gingrich. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

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