Public Papers - 1992 - June
Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Congressional Leaders
The President. Let me just, first, thank the Members for coming here. And this is a critical and important vote. We must pass this balanced budget amendment. I thank those who are out front in the leadership role on this. And I would appeal to those that are still undecided to say that this is the way to discipline both branches of the United States Government, the Congress and the administration.
We've approached it -- I hope Charlie would agree and others, Billy -- in a nonpartisan way. We're going to continue to fight it on that basis. The people want this done. It will make all of us do what the people want, and that is to get this deficit under control once and for all.
So I thank you for coming at this very early hour. Charlie gave me my button, ``Vote Yea on BBA,'' and that's the balanced budget amendment. And clearly, if I were in the House, where I started off, why, I would be voting yes. And we've talked about the arguments opposed to it, but I think the overwhelming evidence is that the people want this and that we ought to go ahead and take a role of leadership in getting this budget under control, this deficit under control.
So thank you so much for coming. As you know, I'm heading out in a couple of minutes. But I think this meeting is important, and I once again commend those who have been out front in a strong leadership role in the House of Representatives. It's been bipartisan, and it's been magnificent.
Balanced Budget Amendment
Q. Mr. President, why do you think there's such a nasty, mean campaign against the balanced budget? Who's behind that?
The President. Well, I don't know because the people want it passed, Sarah [Sarah McClendon, McClendon News Service]. And I think it will be.
Q. They've got the Chamber of Commerce, and they've got the -- --
The President. The Chamber of Commerce will come around. They've got one particular amendment they want to pass first. But the business people across this country, the working people across this country realize that their future, their kids' future has been mortgaged. In other words, we're not passing out blame here; we're trying to do something about it.
And so I don't know, Sarah. But these people have stood up courageously, and they're fighting for it. That is not easy, and I support them, salute them.
Q. Mr. President, are you worried about the situation in Panama?
The President. No.
Q. Violence where you're going speaking?
The President. No, no, not worried at all. We'll be received very well down there.
Q. Mr. President, are you going to have them send troops over to Europe? The Balkans?
The President. We're concerned about the situation in Yugoslavia, but there's no commitment on that. We are going to safeguard human life. We're going to do what we can in a humanitarian way. We're working with the United Nations. But it's a little premature to be talking -- --
Q. You have to act quickly, don't you, though, to keep those people from starving?
The President. When the United States sees people that are hungry, we help. And again, that's bipartisan or nonpartisan. That's just been the hallmark of our country. So we will do what we should do. But I'm not going to go into the fact of using U.S. troops. We're not the world's policeman. It's a very complicated situation, but it's one that we're following very closely.
Thank you. Now I've got to get to work with these people.
U.N. Conference on Environment
Q. Mr. President, do you expect the other countries to try to beat up on you in Rio?
The President. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. We are the United States. We are the leader in the environment. We've got a good record. Most of the groups that are criticizing are from the United States, I think. But that's all right; I've been there before. I'm going to represent the people on this visit and do it firmly in putting forward the best environmental record that any country has.
We've spent 0 billion in the last 10 years. We're going to spend .2 trillion in the next 10 years. And we share our technology with the world. We are way out front. And we're going to continue to stay out front, but we are not going to act like we have an open checkbook and that people are going to come in and tell us how much money to spend. We can't do it. We're trying to protect the taxpayer here through this balanced budget amendment, and I will protect the taxpayer down there in Rio. But I'm going to advocate a sound, strong environmental record.
Now, you all, thank you very much for interest in all of this. But I've got to get to work and see what I can do to help these people around this table at the waning hours of this debate.
Note: The exchange began at 7:03 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In the exchange, the President referred to Representatives Charles W. Stenholm and W.J. (Billy) Tauzin.