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Remarks on House of Representatives Action on the Economic Program

August 05, 1993

Thank you very much. I want to congratulate the Members of the House and their leaders for breaking gridlock tonight and entering a new era of growth and control over our destiny. In the future, the American people will thank them for their commitment to moving away from the horrendous legacy of debt, underinvestment, and slow growth of the 1980's and putting the national interest ahead of the narrow interest, putting tomorrow ahead of today's pressure.

The margin was close, but the mandate is clear. I will continue to fight for this economic package with everything I have. And I urge the Members of the Senate to act on it in a positive way tomorrow. The fight is still on, and we have just begun to fight.

This economic plan represents an important first step in changing America. For the first time in a very long time we are making a meaningful downpayment on the Federal deficit, with deep spending cuts locked away in a trust fund that cannot be spent for anything else. For the first time in a dozen years the tax burden that is a part of the deficit reduction trust fund will be borne largely by those best able to bear it, with 80 percent of the new revenues coming from those with incomes above $200,000. And still, there will be shared contributions. The middle class is asked to make a modest contribution to paying down the deficit and growing the economy. For the first time in a decade we are making a serious effort to invest in our children, reward work over welfare, strengthen our families, and give genuine incentives to business to grow new jobs. These incentives are very, very important because the purpose of bringing the deficit down is to keep interest rates down, be able to control our financial destiny, and permit people with the right incentives to put the American people back to work.

Finally, as I said, this is just a first step to putting our financial house and our economic house in order. This program is shared sacrifice for shared benefit. We're all in this together, but we have just begun.

If the Senate acts favorably tomorrow, and as soon as the August recess is over, I am committed to further steps for discipline in the Federal budget, in getting rid of unnecessary spending and waste, including reenacting the controls that the House originally passed and that I embodied in my Executive orders of yesterday. After that, we will move on to the Vice President's report on reinventing Government, which will contain a myriad of exciting possibilities for making the Government more efficient and reducing unnecessary and inefficient spending.

Then we will move on to deal with the health care issue, to provide the security of affordable health care to all families and to lower the growth in health care costs over the long run, without which we will never bring this budget into balance or restore real financial health to the private sector. Then there is the process of ending welfare as we know it, making our streets safer, and most important of all, putting all this together in a program to restore jobs and growth for the American people.

We have set our sights high, but for 20 years our people have struggled harder on stagnant wages with too little investment and too few new jobs and exploding debt. For 12 years we have tried trickle-down economics while the debt went up and investment went down. Now we want a new direction to invest and grow this economy.

We began by seizing control of our destiny on a daily basis with this heroic vote today by the House of Representatives. I congratulate those who voted. I urge the Senate to follow their lead. And I look forward to continuing the battle tomorrow.

Good evening.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:55 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on House of Representatives Action on the Economic Program Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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