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Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Congressional Leaders and an Exchange With Reporters

December 07, 1995

Bosnia and the Budget

The President. I'd like to just say a couple of opening words. First, I want to welcome the bipartisan delegation of House Members who are here and thank them for coming as we continue to discuss the question of our mission in Bosnia and search for unity on that.

I also want to say that I took a step today which I hope will help us to find unity on the budget. I presented a budget that is a 7-year balanced budget that protects Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment, doesn't raise taxes on working families, and meets the conditions that were set out in the resolution to which we all agreed. And I hope it will be taken as a gesture in good faith that will start us on the road to real negotiations over this budget and that will bring about a constructive resolution for the American people.

So I'm very hopeful about that, and I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to have a discussion about Bosnia with the Members who are here present. And some of them I think have recently returned from a trip of their own to Bosnia, so I think we'll have a lot to discuss. And I thank you for being here. And I thank you for being here.

Q. Mr. President, Chairman Kasich said late today your budget came up there 400 in the hole. And he said by submitting this document you have breached the contract you signed with them a few days ago.

The President. Well, I disagree with that. You know, if you look at—we thought there would be new budget estimates coming out of the Congressional Budget Office by now, but they haven't been. That's fine, and I haven't attacked them for not doing it, even though they said they would. And I don't think that's very constructive.

Our budget—let me point out two things. All this is is a—the balanced budget plan is a plan over 7 years. No one can know what will happen between now and then, but we do know what's happened for the last 3 years. For the last 3 years, both the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget have underestimated the deficit reduction as a result of the 1993 economic plan, although we have been closer to accurate than the CBO.

We know that our plan was submitted based on basically splitting the difference of all the experts in America who predict what the economy will do. And therefore, it is mainstream, and it's good, and it's a good place to start discussions. And I think that's the attitude they ought to take. And if they have a—I've made a proposal; now I'd like to see what theirs is.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 6:05 p.m. in the Indian Treaty Room at the Old Executive Office Building.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Congressional Leaders and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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