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Remarks Following a Meeting With Republican Congressional Leaders and an Exchange With Reporters

January 22, 2001

The President. Thank you all for coming. It's been my honor to host a working lunch with the Speaker and Members from the House and even Members from the United States Senate. This is the beginning of a series of luncheons and dinners that I will have and the Vice President will have with Members of the Congress. If we're to get an agenda through the Congress, it's best that I be able to personally explain the issues and what I'm attempting to do.

I've told the leadership that they should be expecting a strong education reform package, a tax relief package, and a Medicare and Social Security reform package and a package to help pay the folks in the military more money. And I can't wait to work with them to get the people's business done.

This is not the last time I'm going to see you all over here, nor will the meetings be only Republican; we'll have Democrats come here quite a few times, as well, to get some things done.

So I want to thank you all for coming. I'm honored you're here. It's my first lunch in this part of the White House complex, and it's fitting that it be with Members of the legislative branch. Thanks for coming.

Abortion Funding

Q. Mr. President, are you going to reverse the Executive order allowing abortion funding and counseling—Federal funds for abortion counseling and funding overseas?

The President. Yes, I am.

Q. When will you do that, sir?

The President. Soon.

Q. [Inaudible]—Executive orders reversing President Clinton's?

The President. Yes.

Fetal Tissue Research

Q. What about fetal tissue research? What about fetal tissue research?

The President. I'll deal with that issue later.

Resolution of President Clinton's Legal Issues

Q. Mr. President, how do you react to the deal that President Clinton entered into with the Independent Counsel, Robert Ray? What's your interpretation of that agreement, and were you considering a pardon should it have come to that?

The President. I hadn't considered a pardon because the man hadn't been indicted. And my feeling about the actions of last Friday was, it's finally over with; it's now time to move on. And I think the country is pleased that it's time to move on, and that's exactly what we're going to do.

Q. Was it appropriate, sir?

The President. Thank you all. The pleasure is mine, Fournier [Ron Fournier, Associated Press]. [Laughter]

Q. Welcome to the White House.

The President. It's an honor to be here.

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

George W. Bush, Remarks Following a Meeting With Republican Congressional Leaders and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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