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Remarks at a Rally for Senatorial Candidate Lynn Martin in Chicago, Illinois

September 26, 1990

The President. Thank you very, very much for that warm introduction.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you, thank you. Thank you all. Lynn, thank you. Thank you, all of you. And, Lynn, thank you for that warm and wonderful introduction, and thank all of you for making me feel so at home.

We were in Ohio earlier today, and the crowds there were almost as enthusiastic. One exception: I saw a lady holding up a sign -- true story -- that read, "Where's Millie?" [Laughter] Which reminds me to bring you greetings from Barbara Bush. She salutes Lynn, as I do.

And like Lynn, I was thrilled to see that wonderful turnout from the Bears, those great linemen. I was thrilled to be with my friends the Gatlins once again and, of course, thrilled to feel this enthusiasm here.

I saw Jim Edgar a little earlier, and I don't know if he's still here, but I want you to know how strongly I support him for Governor. There he is. And marvelous support for our next Governor. And then the next Lieutenant Governor I believe is with us, Bob Kustra. And the rest of our statewide ticket is also here: George Ryan for secretary of state, Jim Ryan for attorney general, Gregg Baise for treasurer, and Sue Suter for comptroller. We've got a first-class ticket.

And I want to make a special notice of two that are with us who are running for the Congress, who flew with me today from Akron -- two -- back here to Chicago. And of course, I'm talking to two outstanding candidates, both of whom have an excellent shot to win, Walter Dudycz and Manny Hoffman. We've got to get them in the Congress. I need their support.

And I understand my old friend Pate Phillip is here, and Bill Weiss. And I want to thank them for putting on this magnificent event.

It's great to be here, back in the Chicago area. And it is a particular joy to speak on behalf of this close friend and a national cochairman of my 1988 campaign, five-term Congresswoman, and the next Senator from Illinois, Lynn Martin. And I wouldn't say it's ironic but it's appropriate that we're here at the home of the great DePaul Blue Demons, because come November, Lynn Martin is going to give the opposition one devil of a surprise.

And really, you heard it. You heard a little taste -- what's this bug doing here? [Laughter] Making it very difficult. You heard it tonight, and really what it's about -- it's because Lynn is someone that people believe in. She began as a working mother and schoolteacher and State senator, and then became a nationally prominent Member of the United States Congress, the first freshman ever to serve on the prestigious Budget Committee. She won the respect of her colleagues simply by outsmarting her opponents, speaking out against injustice and unfairness, and always standing up for the people of this great State. I believe and Lynn believes, as we all do, that power should be in the hands of people, not government. Empowerment is at the heart of Lynn's campaign, and it is a cornerstone of our administration's domestic policy.

[At this point, audience members interrupted the President's remarks.]

There's something about me. Why do I attract -- I don't know what it is. [Laughter] Thank you, thank you very much. I don't know whether it's me or Lynn. [Laughter] This happens sort of deja vu, as Yogi Berra would say, all over again. It happened downtown here. But in any event, they're entitled to their say, and it doesn't hurt a thing. Thank God we live in a country where they can pay 25 bucks and have their say.

But the point -- back to the subject at hand -- the point is we do stand for opportunity and empowerment for all Americans. You know, the Democrats believe that every time a new problem arises in America it's time to create a new bureaucracy -- turn to the Federal Government. Republicans don't. We prefer not to expand the budget of the bureaucracy. But like this sign behind me says -- "Victory on the Horizon" -- we seek to expand the horizons of Illinoisans, young and old, from offering more options to parents seeking child care to giving students and parents more choice in education, from allowing tenant management for residents of public housing. And we believe in a clean environment, and we believe in creating free-market answers to environmental problems -- and taking back our streets, incidentally, from the drug dealers and the murderers. In short, we are working hard to build a better America, and that's why I need Lynn Martin in the Senate. We need a change.

And I'm here not to speak against her opponent, but for her. But I have to say in all candor, I'd love to have someone in the Senate in this seat who would vote with me every once in a while. [Laughter]

Lynn will help us accomplish these goals by helping us first keep the economy moving forward. You know, over the last 8 years, we've seen the longest peacetime economic expansion in history. Twenty-two million jobs have been created. But to build the best America we can, we've got to get our own fiscal house in order. We must bring down this overwhelming Federal budget deficit. And that means we've got to do it now. And that means we must first have a budget agreement -- one that maintains our economic strength, bolsters our international competitiveness, and spurs continued job growth. The reason we don't have an agreement is simple: Congress -- both Houses controlled by the Democrats -- hasn't acted on our proposals. Let me give you a little history, because this is on the minds of the American people tonight.

On January 29th, we sent a complete Federal budget to Capitol Hill. By April 1st, Congress was supposed to act under the rules. One hundred seventy-eight days later, we're still waiting. On May 15th, I took the initiative and called on the Democratic congressional leaders to join me in a bipartisan summit on the budget. That was 134 days ago.

On June 26th, with the budget summit going nowhere, I was asked by the Democratic leaders to make a sacrifice, to allow everything to be put on the table, to allow taxes to be put on the table. Not my first choice. Not my second. But in a good-faith effort to get Congress off dead center, it was a concession that I felt had to be made. A month later, our administration prepared another comprehensive budget plan with the understanding that it would be considered side by side with the Democratic offer, but the other side arrived emptyhanded. And that was 62 days ago, and we're still waiting.

Now, I do want to clarify one point because at this very moment the budgeteers are meeting again -- the leaders are meeting. And Secretary [Speaker] Foley and Leader Mitchell raised a point that I want to clarify. Earlier today I said the Democrats had not come forward with a package. And they have put a series of proposals on the table in these private negotiations. I accept that in the private negotiations there have been such proposals. And if my statement on Air Force One confused things and if I can clarify it here, I want to do that. I apologize for misspeaking on that technical point. However, my concern remains that we have yet to see from the Democrats a comprehensive plan that contains serious spending cuts, necessary budget process reform and enforcement, growth incentives, and a sound approach to defense. And I do hope that in the negotiations taking place as I speak that we can see the progress that will finally bring this process to a conclusion.

We have proposed several 5-year, $500 billion deficit reduction packages. The American people are not dumb. You've seen the headlines about these negotiations and the arguments over which party is "on the side of the working people." I'm talking, though, about incentives for job growth, capital investment, and credits for research and development because I want to continue economic growth, I want to avoid a recession, and I want to produce more jobs for the people of Illinois. And that's what this debate is about.

We are keeping our eyes on the goal that does the most good for everyone, and we want to keep creating jobs for all the American people. But without a budget agreement, 5 short days from now we'll have tough decisions. We'll face a $100 billion mandated sequester: multibillion-dollar across-the-board budget cuts that will have a damaging effect on Americans young and old, rural and urban. It is the law of the land. And I took an oath to uphold the law, and that's what I'm going to do. We know these cuts will be tough.

Let me just give you some examples of what life will be like when this sequester hits. For college students, Pell grants for 1.2 million college students would be eliminated outright. For young children, approximately a million would not be vaccinated for polio, measles, and rubella. For air travelers here at O'Hare Airport, flights will be canceled; in fact, each day, up to 58 arrivals and departures would be canceled per hour because there won't be enough air traffic controllers to ensure safe operations.

Sequester will be painful, but it can still be avoided if Congress will make the tough choices. And as I said this morning, the hangup isn't capital gains; the hangup is with the Democrats on Capitol Hill.

And on this subject, you might say Lynn Martin sounds like a broken record, but I'm glad she does. We are still waiting for the Congress to come up with enough real spending cuts, cuts that are enforceable, not just another empty promise of future savings waiting to be broken. We're still waiting for the Democrats in Congress to commit to meaningful budget reform -- reform that builds real discipline into the budget process. The last thing we want is for this year's budget fiasco that worries the American people to become next year's instant replay. Clearly, the budget system cannot work if Congress will not act.

Just yesterday, in a straight party line vote, House Democrats once again moved to dodge the budget deadline and reach into America's wallet and keep Government spending growth and the deficit ballooning. Only a unified Republican response was able to sidetrack this effort, at least temporarily. And while the rest of the Nation faces across-the-board cuts, with Head Start programs sitting empty without teachers and Social Security offices closing early, we simply cannot afford business as usual. It's time we then sent a message to the Congress: Time has run out. Congress must act because America deserves better.

And today it is especially important that America is economically healthy and militarily strong, at home and abroad. Let me caution those who might take advantage of the current crisis in the Persian Gulf; those who might seek profit by subverting the sanctions; or here at home, those speculators who might try to drive up the price of oil. While the oil market is very tight with little spare capacity, there is sufficient oil to meet current needs. The oil markets have simply not taken into account the additional production coming onstream from a variety of sources nor the available commercial stocks. There is no justification for intensive and unwarranted speculation in oil futures.

However, should the oil supply situation deteriorate, the United States, in concert with our partners in the International Energy Agency, is prepared to bring additional oil to the market. And we must make sure that we can act quickly, if necessary. And, therefore, I have today directed the Secretary of Energy to conduct an immediate test to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which contains 590 million barrels, by selling 5 million barrels of SPR reserve oil. And I'm prepared to take additional steps, if necessary, to ensure that America stays strong right here at home.

We all know who's keeping America strong right now halfway around the world: those brave soldiers who left their spouses and children to serve in the front lines in the Persian Gulf. And they are some of America's finest men and women, and we're proud of them -- proud of every single one of them that's serving their country. I've said it before: Our service men and women are proving that America could not be the land of the free if it were not the home of the brave.

As I mentioned before -- or you may have detected -- I have major difference with the Democrats in the Congress on the tax-and-spend issue. But in the finest tradition of bipartisanship, support for our effort in the Middle East is strong. And I'm grateful to the Democratic leaders of the House and the Senate for this steadfast support. That's what Senator Vandenberg meant years ago when he said: "Politics stops at the water's edge." And again, I am grateful to the Democrat leaders and the Members for their strong bipartisan support in the Middle East. Our effort is not Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative; it is truly American -- all American.

You know, each one of these kids, each one of our soldiers in the Gulf is a story of America at its best. For example, last week I read in the Chicago Tribune about Lorraine Kuryla, a 63-year-old grandmother from nearby Hillside who volunteered for active duty with the Air Force Reserve Unit out of O'Hare. Her kids called her Grambo. [Laughter] After hearing about her tenacity, her courage, and her toughness, all I can say is: "Move over, Mike Ditka." [Laughter]

Master Sergeant Kuryla and other reservists alongside her are standing up to aggression and preserving the sovereignty of nations. But our G.I.'s are in good company. Not only do we have 22 nations now, including many Arab States and the Soviet Union, on our side -- well over half the Arab League, a vast majority -- we have freedom and justice on our side. Our goals have been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council eight times. For as I told the joint session of Congress 2 weeks ago: America and the world must defend our common vital interests. America and the world must support the rule of law. America and the world must stand up to aggression. And we will not be intimidated by Saddam Hussein.

Recent events prove that there is no substitute for our American leadership in the shaping of a new partnership of nations. Lynn Martin's known that from day one. Unlike others, she has consistently voted for a strong defense. She knows you can't stand up to tyranny and despotism while recklessly slashing military levels. Her opponent called for bombing Iraqi pipelines, on one hand, and, on the other hand, cut defense spending by 50 percent. Not logical. People know Lynn stands for a strong America, economically and militarily. That's another reason why we need Lynn Martin in the United States Senate.

So many in this room have done so much for her campaign, and I thank you for it. But another important task lies ahead. On election day our G.I.'s, in the searing heat of the desert dunes and the hot glare of the Persian Gulf, will send in their absentee ballots. We owe it to those brave men and women, laying their lives on the line for peace and stability in the world, to exercise the precious right to vote.

I am grateful for this tremendous rally, for all the work you've done for Lynn Martin. And now, go out and vote, each and every single one of you. Drag any unsuspecting customer to the polls with you. Let's be sure we make Lynn Martin the next Republican Senator from this great State because Illinois deserves the best.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

Note: President Bush spoke at 8:23 p.m. in the Rosemont Horizon Arena. In his remarks, he referred to Millie, the First Family's dog; the Gatlin Brothers, country music entertainers; DePaul University's Blue Demon basketball team; State Senators Walter Dudycz, Manny Hoffman, and Pate Phillip; Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives; George Mitchell, majority leader of the Senate; Mike Ditka, head coach of the Chicago Bears football team; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks. Following his remarks, President Bush traveled to Minneapolis, MN.

George Bush, Remarks at a Rally for Senatorial Candidate Lynn Martin in Chicago, Illinois Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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