Exchange With Reporters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Q. Mr. President, Dick Armey today came out against your volunteer program, saying it's not the Government's business to teach Americans charity. What's your response to that?
The President. I think the country needs to provide opportunities for people to serve. Expanding AmeriCorps, expanding Senior Corps—it's a good way for Americans to fight evil, and there's all kinds of opportunities. Senior Corps is one opportunity; AmeriCorps is one; church, synagogue, or mosque programs are another.
As I said in my speech, if you don't know where to serve your 2 years of public service or 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, here's a really good opportunity.
Q. Is his opposition—does that threaten the program, threaten——
The President. No, I don't think so. I think Congress understands that we need to provide opportunities for teachers to teach in the inner-city schools and seniors to provide homeland defense volunteer activities. The key thing, the key point I was making in my speech is that many in the country are asking how they can help, how they can help fight terror. And one way to do so is through acts of kindness and compassion and decency. And the good news is, a lot of Americans are responding.
Q. Mr. President, Senator Hollings yesterday asked for a special counsel to investigate your administration's relations with Enron. How do you feel about that, sir?
The President. I feel like Congress needs to pass my pension reform legislation I sent up there. I sent up a good piece of legislation that will help protect workers, and they ought to get after it and respond to that. Listen, this is a business problem, and my Justice Department is going to investigate. And if there's wrongdoing, we'll hold them accountable for mistreatment of employees and shareholders.
Q. You don't see a need for a special counsel?
The President. I see a need for laws, and I see a need for a full investigation, and that's what we're providing. The Justice Department is gathering information, and we're going to determine whether there was any wrongdoing. And if there is, there will be consequences.
In the meantime, I've sent up pension reform legislation that Congress needs to get after. It's a good piece of legislation, it will help workers, and we ought to do it now.
Thank you, all.
NOTE: The exchange began at 1:05 p.m. at the clinical microbiology laboratory in Scaife Hall, during a tour of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.
George W. Bush, Exchange With Reporters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211690