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Public Papers - 1992

Remarks on Legislative Goals and an Exchange With Reporters


The President. With Congress coming back tomorrow, I want to just emphasize those things that I hope we can accomplish in the next couple of months by actively seeking areas of consensus. What I'm about to list does not include everything I'd like to see done, but some main areas.

First, while the economy is recovering, we still need an economic boost to ensure the strength and length of this rise in economic activity. The growth package that I sent to Congress in my State of the Union is still before Congress, and it contains key elements of a plan to create jobs and stimulate investment and growth. And I ask the Congress to continue consideration of these proposals.

Secondly, there's the energy bill, an energy bill that will further our national energy needs and goals. The Senate produced a good bipartisan bill, and the bipartisan process appears to be breaking down in the House. That should not be allowed to happen. A comprehensive energy strategy is long overdue, and we need bills that make sense, not a veto.

The third is health care reform. Comprehensive reform is made up of many elements, and I believe there is relative consensus on some of the elements. And I'd like to act quickly in those areas where we can achieve consensus. There are 30 million people in this country without adequate health care insurance, and we must offer them the benefits of our health care system.

The fourth one is education. Our kids must be able to compete to get jobs, to create jobs, to participate in the global economy. And we must help spur fundamental reform by encouraging this new American schools concept, flexibility, world-class standards, and parental choice, including private, public, and parochial schools. A business-as-usual education bill simply will not take us where we need to go.

And finally, as I've repeatedly called for in the past, I'd like to see this constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. The Democratic leadership is changing their view on the issue, and I think there's a feeling they may be willing to help us move an amendment forward. So now is the time to pass that balanced budget amendment.

So, those are the five I'd like to see passed just as soon as possible by Congress. And then, of course, we'll be pushing for other legislative goals as well, liability reform and things like that.

Fundraising Ethics

Q. Mr. President, what do you think of allegations that some of your supporters are intimidating and coercing their employees to kick into Republican -- --

The President. I don't like that at all.

Q. -- -- fundraising?

The President. I disapprove of -- --

Q. Have you ever heard of it? I mean, have you ever seen it?

The President. Seen it?

Q. Yes, in action, in any of your fundraising?

The President. No, I've never seen that. No. And I've read some allegations that concern me very much because there ought not, there should not be coercion in fundraising. It's outrageous. And I pride myself on a good, clean record in this regard.

Downing of U.S. Aircraft in Peru

Q. Mr. President, is there anything new on the Peru incident?

The President. Nothing new on it. There's still some uncertainty. But to his credit, President Fujimori did the right thing in expressing regrets and apologies. But there's still some uncertainties exactly what happened. The plane was marked. It was clearly on a predictable course. But we still don't know all the answers to it.

Q. Are you afraid of Ross Perot?

World Economic Growth

Q. Would you like to see Japan and Germany do more to stimulate world economic growth?

The President. Well, I'd like to see everybody involved in economic growth. And I'll be prepared to talk about that further to Helmut Kohl. I've discussed it. As you know, we had an economic growth deal with Japan on our trip. One of the things we both agreed on was a growth agenda. So I think all countries want that, but each one has to find his own way achieving economic growth. I'm hopeful that we are on the path. They have every reason to have been critical of us in the past. But I don't think the way to do it is to criticize the Chancellor of Germany, which I'm not about to do, nor the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Miyazawa. I think we all want growth. And the question is how to achieve it.

Health Care

Q. What are the areas of health care where you think there is consensus? Is it just insurance?

The President. Well, I think there's some talk now about accessibility to insurance, which would be good. I'd love to see a move forward on our malpractice legislation, legislation to put some caps on these outrageous liability claims. We're suing each other too much, and we ought to be taking care of each other more. So I think there's some areas like that where we can do some good.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:05 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House prior to his departure for Miami, FL.

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