BEFORE signing the budget, let me say a very few words concerning the budget.
I would like to say--and I mean this very specifically--I am very, very grateful to all of you who have worked so many hours, done so many things to make this budget a reality. I can't say with enough gratitude my appreciation for the fine job that all of you have done.
As we all know, the Federal budget for 1977 represents what we hope will be a very major turning point in the course followed by the Federal Government for the American people. This budget does not hold out any false promise that the Federal Government will immediately solve every problem or realize every ambition or every well-intentioned goal of the American people. Instead, it reflects on every page the common sense, the new realism, the better balance between public and private initiatives and between the various levels of government to which I referred to in my State of the Union Address. No department nor agency has been exempted from our cost-saving efforts. None has been unfairly or unreasonably treated, singled out to bear the brunt of this very major effort.
We have arrested a spending trend that increasingly threatened our national security and our national stability. We are committed to keeping the level of Federal spending within reasonable and affordable limits, but we are also committed, and committed very deeply, to achieving a better and more bountiful life for all Americans.
After a great deal of careful preparation--and all of you participated in it in one way or another, and for that we are very thankful--it is my judgment that we have struck a workable and a very honest balance. This budget proposes and promises only what we know we can deliver, nothing more and nothing less than $394.2 billion will buy for our Government and for our people.
We will be faithful to that promise with the cooperation of the Congress and the support of the American people.
In this spirit, I will be honored and pleased to sign the budget proposal for fiscal year 1977 for its appropriate submission to the Congress of the United States.
[At this point, the President signed the message.]
Let me add, if I might, a further comment. I alluded to it in the remarks I just made, but I have considerable appreciation of the fine job that you have all done. And I believe I know how many long hours all of you have worked. I have had the privilege of working with Jim Lynn and Paul O'Neill and Dale [McOmber] 1 and the others who are the Section Directors, but I know from what they have told me about your efforts that what they presented to me couldn't possibly have been done without what all of you have done. I know what it means in not only the hours but the personal sacrifice that you and your families have made.
1 Director, Deputy Director, and Assistant Director for Budget Review, respectively, Office of Management and Budget.
You can't get the information that we have requested as quickly as we wanted it unless each of you, in one way or another, have interrupted your personal plans, interrupted your family plans, and I thank not only you but your families for being understanding. It is not an easy job. You are career people who have contributed very significantly to what I think is a fine budget, one that we can honestly and, I hope, effectively defend, not only to the Congress but to the American people.
For your efforts, for your sacrifice, for your understanding, I express my deepest gratitude and greatest appreciation.
Thank you very, very much.