Bill Clinton photo

Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers

November 29, 1993

The Briefing Room

1:32 P.M. EST

MS. MYERS: A couple of quick announcements. Welcome back, Brit. First, the President met this morning with 14 religious leaders from around the country. The topic was largely about AIDS. And they are, all of them, leaders in their respective communities in the fight against AIDS. It was an excellent meeting. The President thought it was "wonderful." We will release a list after the briefing of the religious leaders who were there.

Q: What was the subject of the meeting?

Q: What was wonderful about it? (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: They discussed what each of them is doing in their respective communities to fight AIDS; the need for an ongoing dialogue about that as National AIDS Day approaches this Wednesday. The President thought it was a warm and open discussion and very useful for him to find out what was going on in each of these communities and to hear the ideas of the individual religious leaders for fighting both fears about AIDS and the disease itself.

Q: Can you tell us what specifically is going to happen on Wednesday here at the White House?

MS. MYERS: We're still working it. There will be a dimming of the lights, which I think has been a tradition here. We're still working on the other details for -- it's apparently something Mrs. Bush did. That's what we've been told.

Q: secret?

MS. MYERS: They kept it very quietly apparently, but -- (laughter) -- we are told that they did --

Q: (inaudible) -- (laughter).

MS. MYERS: The candelabra in the Residence is on a dimmer.

Q: What is going to be dimmed here? I mean --

MS. MYERS: We're still -- I don't know what the exact formula is, but there are -- the outside lights are dimmed for a period -- I think they ask people around the country to either turn out or dim their lights between 7:45 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time as a symbolic gesture of --

Q: Of what -- dimness? (Laughter).

MS. MYERS: -- I think acknowledgement of -- yes, it's -- it's a very warm feeling of you there, Brit. I think it is an acknowledgement of the seriousness of the disease and the need to do something about it.

Q: Was Christine Gebbie there this morning?

MS. MYERS: Yes, she was.

Q: Any other administration --

MS. MYERS: Alexis Herman was there as well.

Q: Were there -- groups --

MS. MYERS: We'll release the list. It was pretty much across the board. It represented a wide spectrum.

Let me go on here. President Clinton this morning made two phone calls. He called Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany. The conversation lasted about a half an hour. The two discussed a variety of issues, including their mutual commitment to getting GATT done by mid-December. In addition they talked about China. Chancellor Kohl had just returned from China, so they basically exchanged views on their recent meeting with Chinese leaders. And they discussed planning for the upcoming NATO summit; talked about their mutual desire to get together at some point in the near future.

Then he called President Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine to discuss with him our strong hopes for a close U.S.-Ukraine relationship, as well as Ukraine Parliament's recent action on START I ratification. The phone call lasted about half an hour.

As you know, the Ukraine Parliament attached a number of conditions to ratification of SALT, including stating that Ukraine is not bound by Article V of the Lisbon Protocol, which calls for Ukraine to adhere to the NPT at the earliest possible time.

The President expressed his concern to President Kravchuk about this incomplete action on START I and the Lisbon Protocol. President Kravchuk then told President Clinton that he planned to resubmit START I and the Lisbon Protocol as a complete package to the new Parliament that will be elected in March, a decision that the President welcomed. President Kravchuk also stated his continued willingness to work with the U.S. and Russia to make progress on deactivating nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Finally, the two Presidents discussed moving quickly to work on further steps toward economic cooperation.

Q: Did he ask for money?

MS. MYERS: They talked about economic cooperation.

Q: So how would you characterize --

Q: we give them money?

Q: frank discussion?

MS. MYERS: I think it was a frank and open discussion.

Q: Did the President read him the riot act?

Q: But, seriously was it --

MS. MYERS: The President expressed his sort of unhappiness with the Ukraine Parliament's action, and President Kravchuk said he planned to resubmit it when the new Parliament convenes, which the President again welcomed and thought that was a positive step. We continue to expect Ukraine to live up to its nuclear obligations.

Then, the Vice President, as you know, is heading to Mexico tomorrow afternoon. He'll arrive in Mexico City, have remarks, meet with President Salinas on Wednesday morning, and then he will address the National Auditorium about hemispheric relations. Then he'll have a working lunch with President Salinas. Mack McLarty will also be on that trip.

Q: Wednesday?

MS. MYERS: This is Wednesday. They leave tomorrow, the meetings are on Wednesday.

Q: Will the Vice President meet at any point with Colosio, the new --

MS. MYERS: I don't think it's scheduled, but I'll take the question and see if now that it's been announced if there's been any change in that.

Q: Do you have any reaction to the naming of him? Is there any confidence that he will follow through on the Salinas reforms?

MS. MYERS: Well, we're hopeful that he will. Obviously, this is something for the Mexican people to decide. Certainly, we are hopeful that the new President will support NAFTA and continue to work with the United States on a number of issues, including democratic reforms in Mexico.

Q: Are you done? Are we on to questions?

MS. MYERS: Yes, we're done. Oh, we have one other -- I know that normally you guys ask us the question, but since Mrs. Friedman is here representing her son -- how did it feel to have your son one of the 25 smartest people in Washington? (Laughter and applause.)

Q: (inaudible)

MS. MYERS: Holding out for the smartest and sexiest next year. (Laughter.)

Q: by his own admission.

MS. MYERS: That's right. Self-styled, smartest and sexiest. (Laughter.)

Q: (inaudible)

MS. MYERS: Welcome. Okay, have at it, guys.

Q: It's hard to move on after that. (Laughter.)

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the welfare reform proposals -- when we can expect them and what the status of them is right now?

MS. MYERS: As you know, the welfare working group has been at this for quite sometime, and they are getting ready to present options to the President. I think some news accounts over the last few days have put the process further ahead than it is. No options at this point have been presented to the President. We expect that to happen sometime in the next few weeks. He'll review those, both in a policy context and in the context of the Fiscal '95 --

Q: Next few weeks?

MS. MYERS: Yes, sometime in December.

Q: Like mid-December?

Q: He's going to get some options in December, and then there will be a proposal, say, when, early next year?

MS. MYERS: Yes, sometime next year. Sometime after the first of the year.

Q: He said himself that he'd make a proposal and discuss it in the State of the Union --

MS. MYERS: The State of the Union hasn't been scheduled. I'm just leaving some flexibility here.

Q: But isn't that the place that the plan --

MS. MYERS: That is certainly an option. I don't think any hard decisions -- final decisions have been made about that, but that's certainly an option. It's something the President hopes to do early next year. He'll have some time this month and then next -- in December and January to look at the various options and to make some final decisions about it.

Q: You mean he could do it before the State of the Union?

MS. MYERS: I suppose it's possible. I wouldn't -- I don't think those decisions just have not finally been made. I think that's a live option to do it in the State of the Union.

Q: Is there any concern that there is just too much going on with health care, welfare and the new crime initiative all at the same time?

MS. MYERS: What, next year?

Q: Well, all happening sort of right after -- when Congress gets back.

MS. MYERS: I think that certainly we've managed to keep a number of initiatives going this year. I think there will be a number of initiatives going next year. Congress will spend a lot of time on health care. We don't expect that to get resolved until late in the session. The President always said -- he has said for the last few months -- he wanted to start welfare reform next year. We expect that to happen. And the crime bill is something that Congress -- both Houses have acted on. And the President said in his radio address this Saturday that he hoped that Congress would quickly on that next year. So I think with the exception of the conference report, most of the heavy lifting on the crime bill has been done.

Now, the President will continue to address crime both throughout this month -- I think December will be -- or next month actually -- December will be an opportunity, I think, for the President to step back a little bit with Congress out of session and to focus on both walking up the holidays, spending some time with his friends and family -- will even be an opportunity to invite you guys over. And then, I think, talking -- keeping the dialogue on crime and national values going as we walk up to the holiday season.

Q: Can I ask about the meeting tomorrow of the President with the Central American presidents and the Prime Minister of Belize?

MS. MYERS: That's seven leaders from Central American countries; something similar to what the meeting with the leaders of the Caribbean nations last -- I guess earlier this fall. They'll discuss a number of regional issues, including trade. As you know, the President wrote each of the Central and South American leaders expressing his desire to have a free trade agreement similar to NAFTA; although this is an opportunity to discuss free trade and not specifically proposals. They'll also talk about democratization issues in the region. The meeting will start -- it'll be breakfast, 9:30 a.m. meeting, followed by an 11:00 a.m. or 11:15 a.m. statements. President De Leon of Guatemala will make a statement on behalf of the Central American leaders; President Clinton will make a statement. They're meeting in the Family Dining Room and then the press conference will be in the East Room.

Q: Who are the other leaders?

MS. MYERS: I'll give you the list. Cristiani of El Salvador, Endara of Panama, Callejas of Honduras, Chamorro of Nicaragua, Calderon of Costa Rica, De Leon of Guatemala and Esquivel of Belize. Many of those are at the sort of annual Caribbean Investment Conference in Miami, which made it a good opportunity to bring everybody here.

Q: In connection with that meeting, there's been a fair amount of concern about what seems to be an increasing, once again, level of political violence in El Salvador, and concern that what seemed to be the peace process there is getting off track. Does the President have anything in particular that he plans to say to Cristiani about this; any efforts that he intends to make to try to nudge things back on track?

MS. MYERS: I don't know whether he'll specifically bring that up. I imagine that's possible. I'll see if I can take the question and find out specifically if he's going to talk about that.

Q: Do you know of anything about the delivery of the remains of 33 Americans by the North Koreans?

MS. MYERS: We haven't gotten anything for you on that yet. We're still checking. The question was -- yes, the North Koreans are apparently prepared to deliver the remains of 33 Americans at Panmunjom tomorrow. Yes, we're still checking.

Q: Dee Dee, in the discussion with President Kravchuk, was there any talk about the President visiting the Ukraine, or did he say that he won't visit the Ukraine until this START question is resolved?

MS. MYERS: I don't believe it came up in that context. And we should have hopefully a schedule for the trip shortly, for the European trip. Somebody had asked today about the sign-up. And as soon as we have the full agenda -- I mean, for sure it will be Brussels, Prague, Moscow, probably one more stop; and as soon as we have the finals on that, we'll announce it and do the sign-up.

Q: So that one more stop is not likely to be in the Ukraine, is it?

MS. MYERS: Very unlikely.

Q: More like Belarus --

MS. MYERS: I wouldn't rule it out. What's that?

Q: Would the President rule out a trip to Ukraine, lacking resolution of the START issue?

MS. MYERS: We expect the START issue to be resolved, and we're going to continue to press for that, and we don't have any plans at this point; the President has no plans to visit Ukraine.

Q: You're saying that what the Parliament has done --

Q: by Kravchuk's own words, the issue will not be put to the Parliament before next March, that's obviously after the trip.

MS. MYERS: Right, but we have no plans to visit Ukraine before March.

Q: But you would not rule it out.

MS. MYERS: We have no plans to, and I think don't get your passports for Ukraine validated.

Q: political statement --

MS. MYERS: I'm answering the question, Wendell; we're not going to Ukraine.

Q: He thinks that what has been done won't hold, and he's able to overturn it with a new Parliament?

MS. MYERS: That's -- President Kravchuk said he was going to resubmit it with the new Parliament; and we're going to continue to press them to honor their international nuclear obligations, to work with Russia and the U.S. to denuclearize.

Q: When will we see the Clintons sign their living wills?

MS. MYERS: I don't think there's any specific date for that.

Q: What bills?

MS. MYERS: Their living wills. This week? I don't believe so.

Q: Brady or NAFTA signing --

MS. MYERS: Brady is tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. NAFTA, I believe, is tentatively scheduled for a week from Wednesday. We'll see how that goes.

Why don't we do a little bit of the week ahead, I'll give you what I have.

Q: A week from Wednesday, you said?

MS. MYERS: A week from Wednesday, yes.

Tomorrow, as you know, 9:30 a.m. is the meeting with the Central American presidents; 12:30 p.m. I believe is now the operating time for the Brady signing. At 3:30 p.m. he will present the Medals of Freedom to a number of people; I believe there's about a half-dozen recipients of the Medal of Freedom.

Wednesday -- we're still working on it -- is World AIDS Day. He'll drop by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, and then do some AIDS-related event. He'll --

Q: With a flashlight, no doubt.

Q: Commission on Intergovernmental -- is that related to AIDS?

MS. MYERS: No, no, no, separate. I'm just going through the schedule. Then he'll meet with Foreign Minister Bildt of Sweden. This is still Wednesday. And then he will meet briefly with some Nobel laureates. It'll be sort of an informal reception.

Thursday --

Q: This year's Nobel laureates, the Americans who won?


Q: It doesn't matter, you won't be able to see them anyway.

Q: Welcome back, Brit.

MS. MYERS: (Laughter.) We missed you. Welcome back.

Thursday, the only thing on at this point is a series of internal meetings, lunch with the Vice President. Friday he will speak to the DLC here at the Sheraton Washington; then come back -- leave for New Mexico about 1:30 p.m. Then he'll have a public event in New Mexico about 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time. Then there will be a reception --

Q: So he leaves in the afternoon --

MS. MYERS: He leaves at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time; gets to New Mexico for a 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time event.

Q: All right, Dee Dee.

Q: That would 6:30 p.m. our time.

MS. MYERS: You can do the math for us, Brit, the computer wizard. Then he will do a dinner for Bingaman, King and Richardson, fly to Los Angeles and overnight in Los Angeles; get there around 10:30 p.m. supposedly. Saturday, he'll do the radio address live at 7:06 a.m. Pacific Time; and then do some kind of an event in L.A. during the day. We're still working on the details of that. That evening he'll attend a couple of receptions and probably fly back after the reception Saturday night.

Q: What's the topic of Friday's speech -- DLC?

MS. MYERS: Still working on it. We're working on it. I think it'll be fairly broad in scope. Then he comes back --arrives sometime early Sunday morning. He'll spend the day at the White House; and then he has the Kennedy Center honors reception here at the White House. Then he goes to the Kennedy Center for the event on Sunday night.

Q: When you say early Sunday morning, that's like 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m. in the morning or something.

MS. MYERS: No --

Q: (inaudible)

MS. MYERS: Right. If we leave at 11:00 p.m. Pacific Time --

Q: What happened to that free night in L.A. you were talking about?

MS. MYERS: Well, I'm a liar.

Q: Friday night, you get there at 10:30 p.m. --

MS. MYERS: Yes, you have Friday night from 11:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. I think that's plenty.

Q: What's he doing today?

MS. MYERS: What's he doing today? Well, he had the breakfast this morning. He's had a number of meetings -- mostly meetings. And then tonight he has --

Q: That's what he has have every day.

MS. MYERS: On the budget -- he has a meeting on the budget, a meeting on space station. They're all open and frank, productive conversations.

Q: Any foreign policy meetings?

MS. MYERS: No, not other than the usual daily briefings. He has some phone and office time, I think, catching up a little bit. I will point out that he had a lovely time in Camp David, which the staff was mightily encouraged by.

Q: He liked it up there.

MS. MYERS: He liked it a lot.

Q: What's he doing tonight?

MS. MYERS: Tonight, the -- it's the in concert at the White House series. It's the next -- we did one earlier in the summer. This is the second --

Q: Who's playing?

Q: Who is the artist?

MS. MYERS: I don't know. Did we get -- we'll have to try to get that. It's some jazz -- combination of jazz artists.

Q: No pool.

Q: Will the President bring his saxophone?

Q: Don't tell us that.

MS. MYERS: I don't think so.

Q: What make him like it this time -- Camp David?

MS. MYERS: -- Peter's question, I'll come back to that.

Q: Speaking of budget, how directly involved will the President be this year? Last year he kind of went through line by line, and this year the process has changed in the fact that OMB is not -- pass-backs -- that a lot of its going to be decided at the National Economic Council level. What will the President -- involvement be in the budget? Do you know that?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think he'll be very involved, as he was last year. I mean, I think the fact that he's starting now --

Q: Same level of detail last year that he was involved in last year? I mean, he went through line by line last year. Is he planning to do that again --

MS. MYERS: I think he'll have a fairly -- I think he'll spend quite a bit of time on it. Last year was the first year. I think that required an enormous commitment putting together an economic strategy for the administration. But I think the President will spend a great deal of time on it. I think that's a lot of what he'll do this month. I think he'll spend a lot of time reviewing it in December.

Q: pass-back procedure this year?

MS. MYERS: I don't know. I'll check. I'll have to take that. Probably.

To Helen's question on Camp David, the President had a great time. He jogged. He spent time with his family. He said he bowled; built a jigsaw puzzle. Spent a lot of time with Chelsea; used the Eisenhower one-hole golf course that's there; and I think just had a very relaxing time with his family and Mrs. Clinton's family.

Q: Is he going to do it more often?

MS. MYERS: We can only hope.

Q: Did he leave at all to play golf?

MS. MYERS: No, he stayed there the whole time. He didn't leave; and was scheduled to come back, as you know, either Friday or Saturday morning and came back yesterday early evening.

Q: (inaudible)

MS. MYERS: I don't know.

Q: Dee Dee, a dollar says spends more days in California than he does at Camp David. (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: That is a bet I will not take.

Q: Since last week there are a couple other possibilities for federal intervention in aviation -- sort of surfaced. There was a report citing Secretary Reich as saying it was possible that the administration might facilitate talks between UAL and its workers on restructuring that airline. There's also been some discussion about whether the federal government should intervene in the Los Angeles Airport problems with its 50 airlines -- dispute over landing rights. I was just wondering if either one of those disputes has come across your radar screen --

MS. MYERS: Those are things that have been handled by DOT. Secretary Pena's been involved, as has Secretary Reich, in those different issues. And I don't think we have any specific plans on that, although I wouldn't rule it out depending on recommendations from the various secretaries.

Q: What was the nature of the space station meeting?

MS. MYERS: Discussion with, I believe, some members of Congress on the space station.

Q: Dee Dee, can you talk a little bit about how the President's going to parlay NAFTA and APEC into GATT over the next two weeks?

MS. MYERS: How the President's going to parlay NAFTA into GATT?

Q: NAFTA and APEC -- he talked about a triple play. Well, we're still on second base, here.

MS. MYERS: Well, obviously the President is going to do what he can now as we move into the next phase, which is to get GATT done by December 15th. Mickey Kantor will be here tomorrow afternoon to brief; he is scheduled to meet with Leon Brittan, I believe, Wednesday and Thursday. And so, I think he is going to give an overview of where the process is specifically. Obviously, we're still committed to trying to get GATT done by December 15th; it was one of the things, it was the primary purpose for the President's call to Chancellor Kohl today, and we're hoping that that can be wrapped up. But I think Mickey can get into the specifics of where the negotiations are, or where he hopes they'll be over the course of this week.

Q: Can you talk a little more about what he's talked with Kohl about regarding GATT?

MS. MYERS: I think they just talked about their mutual desire to get it done, and had some specific conversations, which I'm not going to go into, about where each country is on some specific items.

Q: What time will Mickey Kantor be here, do you know?

MS. MYERS: We haven't set a time yet; I think sometime early afternoon.

Q: It's on GATT, huh?

MS. MYERS: Yes, on GATT. Specifically on GATT prior to his meeting with Brittan.

Q: On the Kohl phone call, did they talk at all about Bosnia and how that would play out at the NATO summit?

MS. MYERS: I don't know. Bosnia did not come up. I don't think so.

Q: Really -- you've got European ministers meeting on Bosnia today and the --

MS. MYERS: Yes, we hadn't had any report back on that yet.

Q: Exactly on -- what's the official position now of the U.S. government on the EC proposal -- lift the sanctions on the Serbians?

MS. MYERS: I think our position hasn't changed. I think that's what they're discussing today. Our position is that we believe a negotiated settlement is still the only solution, and we hope the parties will get back to the negotiating table. The Serbs know what they need to do to get the sanctions lifted, and we expect -- I mean, our position hasn't changed. We plan to keep open the lines of humanitarian delivery. That has been an unprecedented effort, and we're still committed to it -- over 40,000 tons of food and medical supplies. Particularly as winter approaches, we'd like to see the parties sit down and reach some resolution.

Q: Lifting those sanctions would not be --

MS. MYERS: Our position always has been that the Serbs know what they need to do to get the sanctions lifted. And we've urged them to make additional territorial concessions to the Bosnian Muslims; that's nothing new. But that's the proposal that they'll be discussing if it comes together as a proposal at all today. And I haven't heard anything back on that yet.

Q: Will the glitzy CAA fundraiser be open on Friday?

MS. MYERS: We're looking at that. Actually, I think I told some people earlier that it would not, but I think that it probably will.

Q: And do you know who's going to be there in terms of Hollywood-types --

MS. MYERS: No, I think it'll be fairly representative of Mr. Ovitz's associates. It's his deal, I think. It benefits the DNC. I'm sure it'll be an interesting crowd.

Q: look like America. (Laughter.)

Q: Is the President concerned about the situation in the Middle East, that the agreement may be sort of in trouble? And has he spoken to anyone about this?

MS. MYERS: He hasn't. But as you know, Secretary Christopher is on his way to the region after stops in Rome and Brussels. Obviously, we're going to do what we can to keep the process on track. We expect all of the parties to live up to their agreements on that. But I think Secretary Christopher is going there specifically to see what we can do to keep the process on track.

Q: was down here today to meet with Carol Rasco or somebody. Do you know what that was all about?

MS. MYERS: I don't. I can certainly check to see what the topic -- nature of the meeting was.

Q: On the Middle East, I can't hear the questions, but will the President make any personal phone calls? Because the situation is really beginning to unravel --

MS. MYERS: Well, obviously we're going to do what we can to keep the process on track. There aren't any phone calls scheduled, but the President certainly will remain involved in this, and committed.

Q: to keep the process on track.

Q: What is it?

MS. MYERS: Continue to work with the parties, through the process that we've established. Secretary Christopher has done an enormous amount of work in the region already in helping to move the negotiations forward on all tracks. We continue to press that, we continue to press all the parties to participate and to move toward a comprehensive settlement.

Q: Do you have any reaction -- the PLO is saying it will now begin to again fire on Israelis because of all the killings over the weekend. Do you have a statement on that?

MS. MYERS: We hope to keep the process on track and expect the parties there to live up to their obligations. Obviously, we would like to see a stop to all of the violence in the region, and including from all sides. I think a cessation of violence is critical to keeping the process, or at least a downgrading of violence is important, and obviously we're going to everything we can to support that.

Q: With senior people leaving the administration, can you repeat for me or remind me what the rules are on lobbying? Did they sign something?

MS. MYERS: Yes. Everybody signed an ethics pledge --

Q: Which --

MS. MYERS: Which did a couple of things. One, it extended from one year to five years a ban on lobbying former agencies where you worked, or had influence; and two --

Q: Does that include the White House?

MS. MYERS: Absolutely. And, two, made a lifetime ban on lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. And I would just remind you that at the time, it was really considered to be a very bold effort. Common Cause, I think, widely regarded as a credible source on this, called it an unprecedented and far-reaching, a real breakthrough in the effort do deal with the revolving door problem.

Q: What did Rex Reed call it?

MS. MYERS: He gave it two thumbs up and four stars.

Q: Howard would still be able to lobby Congress, though, for example.

MS. MYERS: I believe so, yeah. But, I believe so, I'd have to check with counsel. I don't think -- I would just also point out that nobody has been -- has announced -- I mean, neither Howard nor Roy have said what they plan to do upon leaving.

Q: If you worked at the White House, does that mean you have a ban only on lobbying people in the White House, or would that include other agencies of the government?

MS. MYERS: It would depend on your job.

Q: Like if you were Paster or Neel, for instance. (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: Just two random examples. I would have to check with the counsel's office. But depending on what -- I don't think -- I am not sure that either of them would be banned from lobbying other government agencies.

Q: What about Congress?

MS. MYERS: I don't think the ban applies to Congress.

Q: Well, they would they be banned from dealing with agencies that they've been dealing with -- wouldn't they?

MS. MYERS: Well, that's not -- I mean, I think that the President imposed new ethics standards on the White House which people willingly signed. And that I think the independent analysis said was a real step forward and much better than the previous system. And I think we stand by it.

Q: Well, I think, Dee Dee, the proof is in the pudding -- the first people who leave the administration under these new ethics. And what we're trying to find out is precisely what they're not going to be allowed to do that any other administration disallowed their people to do, or what they can or can't do, and what the situation is -- your administration had, in fact, highly promoted the idea that you'd be more ethical that any administration in --

MS. MYERS: And I think that the President took quick action to introduce stiffer ethics standards which everybody willingly signed and everybody will abide by. Roy and Howard haven't said what they're going to do. They haven't made final decisions. But we can certainly re-release what the ethics standards are. You can't lobby your former agencies not for one year, but for five years. That's a clearly significant increase. And you can never again lobby on behalf of a foreign government.

Q: Well, if Roy can go and lobby the Vice President's office on science and technology and/or the science and technology office and/or the Treasury Department on rules related to telephone technology, including Bentsen and all of the people with whom he may have been meeting and seeing every single day -- you're saying that makes -- that's all right as long as he isn't lobbying McLarty and the President?

MS. MYERS: No, I'm saying that when President Clinton took office, he tightened ethics standards and every single person who works here is going to abide by those stiffer standards.

Q: What are the penalties for violating those rules?

MS. MYERS: We'll have to pull out the press release -- I'm not sure what the penalties are.

Q: Just as a factual matter, under the rules could --I mean, the example that Ann gave -- could Roy lobby the Vice President's office or the Office of Science and Technology?

MS. MYERS: Well, he worked here as the Vice President's -- in the Vice President's office for the first six months. That would mean for five years he could not lobby the Vice President's office.

Q: How about the Office of Science and Technology?

MS. MYERS: I don't know how -- I'd have to check with counsel on that. I'm just not sure how the law applies. But certainly not in the Vice President's office.

Q: Who's getting the Medal of Freedom?

MS. MYERS: -- there's about a half dozen people, including --

Q: You going to put it out today?

MS. MYERS: Yes. Some civil rights leaders and the Everglades activists from Florida.

Q: What was the question?

Q: But he could certainly still -- one of his associates for lobbying --

MS. MYERS: Nobel laureates.

Q: No.

Q: which he was ineligible to lobby, couldn't he? MS. MYERS: I mean, Medal of Freedom, I'm sorry. What? Q: He could certainly counsel an associate on the

technique of lobbying those offices which he was not allowed to lobby, couldn't he?

MS. MYERS: I don't know. I'll have to check on the specifics of that. But again, I would point out that independent analysis of the ethics laws gave it high marks as a positive step forward -- as a sort of groundbreaking new series of laws meant to protect the public interest. And I think that that's a good thing.

Q: The National Association of Business Economists is saying today that 57 percent of its membership believes that the health security act, as it is proposed -- as they know it now --would cost half a million jobs or more.

MS. MYERS: Who says this?

Q: The National Association of Business Economists.

MS. MYERS: Well, there's a number of economists, including those who worked with -- who think that in the long run the only way to protect economic growth -- first of all, that's not consistent with our figures at all. Second of all, the only way to protect long-term growth is to get health costs under control. And that's what the health security act is determined and aimed to do.

Q: So, you think they're just -- what?

MS. MYERS: I haven't seen the study, I'm not sure what you're talking about. But we've certainly worked very closely not only with the President's own economists, but independent economists in putting together the health security act.

And finally, I think just to reinforce what the President has said consistently throughout the campaign and throughout the first year of his presidency -- that unless we get health spending under control, we cannot have sustained economic growth. And that's what this plan will do.

Q: Is the White House aware of any new or renewed threat either against the President in particular, or Americans in general, because of the President's meeting with Salmon Rushdie last week?

MS. MYERS: Not that I'm aware of. But, as you know, the State Department did issue an advisory.

Thank you.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 2:03 P.M. EST

William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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