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Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One on the Federal Budget Negotiations

September 26, 1990

Q. Did you have a good flight?

The President. Big political day today.

Q. How did the discussions this morning go, sir?

The President. Good. Good. Republicans are staying solid.

Q. Are you concerned that you've lost Mr. Michel's support on your -- --

The President. I always like to talk to the people involved.

Q. Are you flexible on capital gains at all, sir?

Q. What did he tell you, Mr. President?

The President. He told me that they're working hard to get a deal. And we are. And the Republicans know what I want when I talk about growth. I'm not interested in raising the tax rates on the American people. And our team is fighting very hard. So, we'll see where we go.

Q. Can a sequester be avoided, or do you think it will go right up until the deadline?

The President. It can be avoided if they get doing what they should. It's the Congress -- and I would say now the Democrats in the Congress that are in charge of the Congress that have not come forward with a package. And we're still working hard in a good, bipartisan spirit there, they told me today. We're getting right down to the wire.

Q. Are you concerned that you might look too inflexible on the capital gains issue?

The President. No, I'm not concerned about that at all because there's an awful lot of issues that are still out there, like spending and trying to tax the American people excessively and things where the American people are on our side. So, we'll just see how we go. But I want to see the Democrats now get into a spirit of compromise. I started early on. You all wrote about it; everybody talked about it. We talked about the revenue side. Now I want to see some flexibility on their part, and I'm going to take our case to the American people. The American people don't need this. They don't need it all. They don't want it. I don't think they yet realize how serious sequester is.

But this concept that they tried yesterday -- the Democrats did -- to just move it on down the road, kick the can down the road, is not fair to the American people nor to the economy. So, we're going to stay with what I said yesterday. And I was very proud that the Republicans stayed together and would not permit the Democrats in the House of Representatives to simply delay the day of reckoning. That's what they tried to do. Everybody knows that. I think the American people know it -- loud and clear.

Q. Are you going to join the talks at some point this week, sir?

The President. They know -- both Democrats and Republicans -- that if my presence there would be helpful, I'm available.

Note: The exchange occurred in the morning while the President was en route from Washington, DC, to Akron, OH. In his remarks, he referred to Robert H. Michel, Republican leader of the House of Representatives. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

George Bush, Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One on the Federal Budget Negotiations Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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