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Public Papers - 1992

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Republican Congressional Leaders


The President. May I make just a comment while the cameras are here and first say that we are pushing from here, and I am grateful of the support around this table, for this balanced budget amendment, constitutional amendment. Now I'm told that the leadership on the Democratic side, trying to block the balanced budget amendment, are coming up with something they call the balanced budget act, which does not balance the budget. It does not require the adoption of a balanced budget, and it's kind of a stalking horse to give cover to Members who don't want to vote for the balanced budget amendment. And we've got to fight hard against it. I'm making phone calls.

The irony is that the Democratic leadership is fighting the balanced budget constitutional amendment, at the same time trying to ram through billion in spending that's not required, all of which they declare an emergency so they can exempt it from the fiscal discipline of the budget act. And I think we've got to get that message out to the American people.

I will sign an emergency appropriation for areas that are affected by these recently declared Presidential disasters. I'd also support, as I know everybody here knows, money for summer jobs, additional money that could actually be spent if they agreed to target it to the areas of actual need.

But I would just strongly urge our continuing opposition to these tactics up there and do something for the American people who are very much concerned about the deficit. And we're trying to get spending under control. And now we've got a real opportunity to show the American people we can do something.

I've approached this not in a partisan manner, working with many Democrats trying to get it through the House, the balanced budget amendment. And I'll keep doing that. But I really want to hear from you all in just a second as to how you feel we can get this one key job done, the same time making sure we're helping the cities in the sound way that we've proposed. They are not incompatible at all. So there we are.

Q. Do you think you're going to win?

The President. Well, we'll find that out from the leaders. I certainly hope so. The American people want it done. And here's a good, clear case to take to the Congress and say, look, the American people want this. Our troops are lined up solidly for it, advocating it, taking the case to the floor and elsewhere. But we've got to have some more bipartisan support for this.

Thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:50 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

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