I think of all the campaign speeches that I made throughout the Nation, the most consistent commitment that was made to the American people was that I would move as quickly as possible to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness and the sensitivity of the Federal Government bureaucracy in dealing with the needs of the American people. I believe it was one of the campaign issues that induced the American people to give me their support.
And I'm very grateful at the overwhelming expression of partnership that has been derived from the congressional leadership, the Representatives behind me today, and the overwhelming votes to give me the authority, as President, to work closely with the Congress and others in reorganizing the structure of the Federal Government.
It's going to be a long and very challenging undertaking. There are going to be a lot of controversies. But I'm determined to do a good job with it.
And with these men standing behind me, Chairman Abe Ribicoff, Chairman Jack Brooks, and others who've worked so closely with us, I believe that we've come forward with legislation that gives me adequate authority.
We'll begin the process as quickly as we can. And as you well know, the Congress will have a very tight and intimate relationship with me and adequate control over the final decisions that are made.
I want to express my thanks to the Members of Congress for the great work they did. In the entire process there were only 22 votes, I think, against the bill. The Senate voted unanimously both times for their own version of the bill and for the modifications that the House attached.
I'm very deeply grateful to the chairmen of the two committees and to all those who did help. I take this responsibility-working with Bert Lance and the Cabinet officers, the staffs of the congressional committees--with a great deal of determination and also with a sober realization of the difficulties involved.
This will be an open process where the American people can be aware of the progress that is being made. And we'll involve the private sector of our national life, the civil servants who are eager to see their own jobs made more meaningful, and I believe that the Nation will benefit.
So again, let me thank you, Jack Brooks, and you, Abe Ribicoff, and all the others who have helped us so much as I sign this bill, which I think will be good for the American people.
[At this point, the President signed the bill into law.]
Immediately thereafter, Bert Lance and others will give a briefing to the press in more detail.
I might say one other thing: that although I only recognized the chairmen of the committees who happen to be Democrats--and I'm thankful for that-it was a bipartisan effort. And I believe that the overwhelming support is indicative of the way the American people feel about this process.
And I, of course, want to express my thanks to Charles Percy and to Frank Horton and the Republicans, as well, throughout the Congress, for their good help in this effort.
Thank you very much.