Bill Clinton photo

Remarks at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Reception

July 22, 1997

Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, one of the things that I really want before I leave this office in 3 1/2 years is to be able to stand here with Dick Gephardt and have him introduce me and have me say, "Thank you, Mr. Speaker." And your presence here tonight makes that more likely.

I thank Martin Frost for his tireless efforts, often thankless efforts. Some of you he has doubtless almost irritated asking for help. [Laughter] But we are working hard to bring back the House of Representatives to our party in the 1998 elections. And let me assure you that it can be done. I know that it can be done, but what I want you to understand is that it should be done. And I will just give you—just think about two or three things.

Number one, as Congressman Gephardt said, in 1993, with only votes from Members of our party, we passed an economic plan which exceeded all of our expectations. The deficit is now 77 percent lower than it was in 1993— with only votes from our party—and it helped to grow this economy.

We also passed in 1993 and 1994, with only a handful of votes from the other side, the family and medical leave bill, the Brady bill, the crime bill, which is putting 100,000 police on our streets. We've now had the biggest drop in crime, for the last 5 years, we've seen in a very long time and last year the biggest drop in violent crime in over 35 years, thanks to the support I received from Democrats.

Then in 1995 and '96, when our friends in the Republican Party won the majority, if it had not been for the staunch, strong, steely determination of the Members of our party in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, we would not have been able to stand against the tide of the Contract With America. They made it possible. My veto pen was not worth a flip without their support, and don't ever forget it. They deserve every bit as much support.

Now, in 1997, we are actually on the verge of getting a budget agreement which includes not only a balanced budget and $900 billion worth of savings and 10 years of life on the Medicare Trust Fund but, in this Congress, the biggest increase in child health since 1965, the biggest increase in aid to education since 1965, the biggest increase in aid to help people go to college since the GI bill 50 years ago. Why? Because the Democrats have stood in there with us, and they know that the President's veto pen is good, so we can work together to do things that are right for America.

Now, if we balance the budget, if crime is coming down, if the welfare rolls are dropping, if our foreign policy is strong and our defense policy is strong—if you look ahead to the 21st century, what do we have to do? We have to deal with the health care problems of American children; we have to deal with the continuing crisis in our cities; we have to make our education the best in the world; we have to prove we can grow the economy while we preserve and improve the environment. Who should be doing that? The Democratic Party of the 21st century, the Democratic Party that you are going to help to elect.

Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:05 p.m. at the Mayflower Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Representative Martin Frost, chairman, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

William J. Clinton, Remarks at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Reception Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives