Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Congressional Leaders
Q. Mr. President, would you consider backing down on your lifting the ban on gays in the military because of the opposition?
The President. We're not here to discuss that. We're here to discuss the economy, which is all I discussed yesterday with congressional leadership, contrary to—
Q. But would you consider—
The President. We're here to discuss the economy.
Q. Have you decided on a consumption tax yet?
The President. No—
Q. Are you closer to a decision— The President. I'm going to give a speech to the joint session February 17th, and we'll lay out my program then. But I've not made any decisions yet. This is the first opportunity I've had to meet with the economic leadership of Congress.
Q. [Inaudible]—you decide, or announce what you've decided on a consumption tax in your-a joint address—
The President. [Inaudible]
Q. Is this gay-in-the-military issue distracting you at all, sir, from the—
The President. No, it's distracting you, it's not distracting— [laughter].
Q. Can you reach $145 billion in deficit reductions without a consumption tax?
The President. I don't know the answer to that. We're working on it.
NOTE: The exchange began at 2:10 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.
William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Congressional Leaders Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/219674