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Remarks Following a Meeting With Airline Industry Leaders and an Exchange With Reporters in Everett

February 22, 1993

The President. I would like to thank Frank Shrontz and the good people at Boeing for hosting representatives of the major airline companies in the United States, as well as manufacturers of airplanes and airplane engines, along with the Secretary of Transportation, the Speaker of the House, and the distinguished Members of the Washington congressional delegation along with the Governor of this State.

We have had a very good meeting about the problems of the manufacturers of airlines and the airline companies themselves, airplanes and airline companies. We talked a lot about the proposal now in the Congress, which is soon to be passed, to create a national commission to ensure a strong, competitive airline industry. That commission will require five appointments from the House, five appointments from the Senate, and five appointments from the President. I assured the representatives here, as did the Speaker, that we had no desire other than to find the 15 best people in America immediately to work on this issue, without regard to party or region. We just want to work together to appoint people who will come back within 90 days and give us some concrete suggestions to revitalize this very important part of our economic future.

I thought it was a terrific meeting. We went around the table. Everyone who was at the meeting made a very constructive set of comments about what they thought we ought to do. And I look forward to the legislation passing, to signing it, and to immediately making the appointments and to going to work.

Q. What do you think, Mr. President, that will mean for the worker who is laid off here? What will be the direct—

The President. Well, if we do a good job, we'll be able to find more business and bring some of them back to work. That's what we want to do.

I'd like to ask the Speaker and the Secretary and Mr. Shrontz and anybody else who is here who wants to make a comment to make some comments, and then we'll answer a couple of more questions.

[At this point, Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas S. Foley, Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena, and Frank Shrontz, president and CEO, Boeing Co., made brief remarks.]

Q. Mr. President—[inaudible].—

The President. If you guys would talk, I wouldn't have to answer so many questions. [Laughter]


Q. Mr. President, are we going to airdrop supplies in to the besieged people in Bosnia?

The President. It's a possibility. I want to wait a couple of more days before I announce a policy on it.

Economic Program

Q. Mr. President, you said in your speech that you wanted spending cuts first and then invest in programs you call investments. Given that your spokes-people had said you're going to pass an authorization for short-term stimulus spending and that the rest of the package has come down the line, and given that most of the spending comes in the early years and the taxes would come in the out-years, in what sense do you want the spending cuts first?

The President. Well, I want an omnibus program passed which has all the spending cuts mandated along with the tax increases. I don't want to raise taxes and then sit around waiting to see whether the spending cuts are going to be enacted. I think that we ought to pass a package which includes the spending cuts at the same time we raise revenues.

Q. Will you still be—to do your new spending first?

European Airline Subsidies

Q. [Inaudible]—the airbus?

The President. Well, you may know that last year our Government signed an agreement, which had the support of the airline industry, which got a commitment out of Europe to dramatically reduce the subsidies to airbus. What I seek to do, number one, is to review it as to its adequacy and, number two, to make sure it's enforced. But I think we made a huge mistake permitting it to happen with no response. And I hope that it's not too late to have an appropriate response to maintain our position in this global marketplace.

U.S. Trade Policy

Q. Do you think you need a tougher trade policy, in general, Mr. President?

The President. No, not necessarily. I think we need a different trade policy. Let me say that the linchpin of our policy still must be to expand trade. A wealthy country cannot grow wealthier by hunkering down within its own borders. We have to be a great trading nation, and we have to help other nations to grow wealthier in order for them to buy more of our products. So our goal still has to be to expand trade.

But we no longer have the luxury, with other nations having grown so much more rapidly than we for 20 years, other nations being about as wealthy as we are—we no longer have the luxury of being the only country in the world that can ignore certain problems in terms of trade fairness that other countries don't ignore. We have to make sure that we are treated in these market-opening measures with the requisite amount of fairness. And so I think we may have a timber trade policy in some respects than we've had in the past, but our allies will be under no illusions. I do not want a protectionist trade policy; I want to expand trade. But I want to do it in ways that preserves America as a high-wage country. Otherwise, we won't be very good trading partners for a lot of these nations over the long run.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:57 p.m. in Hangar 40-22 at Boeing.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Following a Meeting With Airline Industry Leaders and an Exchange With Reporters in Everett Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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