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Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Midwestern Governors

July 27, 1993

Disaster Assistance and Economic Program

Q. Mr. President, do you have any problem with Senator Boren's idea for a budget summit? The President. Let me make a statement, first of all, about what we're here for.

I want to welcome the Governors from the States afflicted by the floods to Washington, and I'm very encouraged by the work they've been doing here today. Of course, we hope the legislation will pass the House today, and if it does then when it moves on to the Senate it is our intention, as I indicated when I was in St. Louis, based on Mr. Panetta's figures, to ask that the relief package be increased by another $1.1 billion which will take us to just slightly above $4 billion. And of course, we're still collecting damage estimates. It may get worse because it's still going on in some places. But I'm very hopeful that we can push this through and work this through. And of course, there are a lot of other issues the Governors want to talk about and deal with that we're going to try to help them on some. I'm encouraged by that.

In terms of the other question you asked me, go back to 1990. You know, I will say again, that the strongest reaction I got yesterday in Chicago with that highly bipartisan crowd was when I said we need to make a decision and go on with other things.

If you look at what happened in 1990, there was this sort of delay. If you delay it a couple of months you're going to have less deficit reduction, higher interest rates, more fragility and uncertainty in the economy, more consumer confidence going down. We have been working on this.

We have other things to do. The American people want us to solve the health care crisis, deal with welfare reform, to pass a crime bill. We have a whole range of other issues out there. The Congress is strangled from doing anything else until we put this budget issue behind us. So the time has come to act. We just need to move and go on and almost everything else that needs to be done, I hope and believe we'll have bipartisan support and we'll meet the needs of this country. Nobody wants to reduce the deficit because—the reason it got so bad as it did is that there were tough decisions required to turn it around. And I think to delay it while we nibble around the edges would be a serious error.

NOTE: The exchange began at 1:54 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Midwestern Governors Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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