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National Energy Legislation Remarks on Signing Letters of Transmittal to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate.

April 29, 1977

Hi, everybody. I have a very wonderful experience today that I have been looking forward to. One is a reunion with what was formerly the fourth grade at the Beverly Hills School in Concord, North Carolina. Congressman Hefner, I am very glad that you came here with them.

These young people are some that I met during my campaign for President. And I underestimated them when I told them at the time that I would like for them to come and visit me in the White House if I got elected. I didn't think they were going to be so dedicated and so strong and so innovative as to raise enough money to come all the way to Washington to see me. But I am glad that you have done so.

These young people and their parents raised more than $9,000 to come and see me and to visit the White House. And I am very glad that you came.

I thought rather than just treating you like children, that I would treat you like responsible American citizens. And although I want to shake hands with all of you before I leave, I thought it would be nice for you to be here on a very historic and important occasion in our Nation's history.

On my right over here are very fine people who work in Government with Dr. James Schlesinger, and for the last 3 months, they are the ones that have put together the new national energy policy that will change the life of our Nation for the better in the future.

Congressman Hefner, I am going to take this occasion to transmit to the House and Senate of the United States Congress the energy legislation that has been developed by these people on my right.

Dr. Schlesinger says this is the first time they have seen the light of day in a number of weeks, and they are squinting in the sun. They have been working day and night on this legislation. As a matter of fact, the proposal consists of about 275 pages. It's one of the most complicated messages or legislative packages that a President has ever sent to the Congress, and it's designed to be fair. It will encourage the American people not to waste energy in the future; it will prepare us to face the years ahead without fear of being damaged if supplies of oil from overseas are interrupted.

I believe it will make the world know that we are sincere about eliminating waste. I think it will also remove the opportunities or causes of arguments and disharmony between the oil companies and consumers, between Government and private industry, and between or among the different parts of our own country and, certainly, between our country and those nations overseas who share with us this very serious problem.

So, at this time, Jim, I would like to sign a letter to the speaker of the House of Representatives pointing out the importance of the energy legislation asking the Congress to give this matter its top priority treatment, and with the expres-• sion of my complete dedication to work with the Congress closely in this very important effort--which may be the most important thing we do for our own Nation's domestic affairs in 1977.

So, this is a letter to Tip O'Neill that I am signing at this point. In addition, I am signing the same letter to the Vice President, who presides over the U.S. Senate. So, this will be a message going to the House and Senate.

Now, I want all the students from Beverly Hills School to help me get this legislation passed. How many of you will ask your Congressman to vote for the legislation that I have just signed? If you will help me by asking the Congressmen to help me, would you raise your hands? Come on, I need more help than that. Very good. I think you have gotten your instructions right from folks back home, with no interference from me. Very good. Very good. Thank you.

I am very deeply grateful and will never forget the tremendous effort that you all have put forward above and beyond the call of duty to make this momentous step forward. And Dr. Schlesinger, to you and all your able assistants you have my eternal gratitude.

I might say that at the time he was making you work long hours, he did not overlook the opportunity to make the President work long hours. [Laughter] So, we are all in it together.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:40 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Jimmy Carter, National Energy Legislation Remarks on Signing Letters of Transmittal to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243774

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