Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks to Reporters Following a Congressional Leadership Breakfast

January 06, 1969


THE PRESIDENT. George1 thought I could give you directly the substance of our meeting this morning with the leadership.

First of all, we talked about our plans for this afternoon. As you know, they will be counting the electoral votes, and there may be a delay in the joint session. I am going up after it is over with, if it is not too late, and visit with some of the Members at the urging of the Speaker and the leadership of the House.

Second, the Speaker informed me that in the days ahead they would be meeting to organize and elect members of the Ways and Means Committee, and cover certain congressional procedures. The Majority Leader informed me that they were determining the size of Senate committees. And they would be spending the next few days organizing the Senate committees.

Then we talked about what would happen between the executive and the legislative the next few days. That is, this week, and really, next week.


There are three messages that we would like to send. The Economic2 and Budget Messages3 a will be the last ones and they will likely be later in the period. I wish I could tell you specifically what day they will be. I just do not know, because we do not have those figures. We are studying revenues and we are studying expenditures. And I do not want to leave any impression one way or the other what it is going to be. I do not want to mislead any of you by any comment I make, and I am just not going to draw any conclusion until I am reasonably sure that this is what our recommendation will be, for whatever it is worth.

I would expect, though, that both the Budget and the Economic Messages would be in the later part of the period that we have.

The State of the Union Message4 is in the process of preparation.

We will talk to the Speaker and the Majority Leader tomorrow or the next day and try to get a little firmer and a little better reading then as to when and how we will deliver the State of the Union Message. When it will be presented has not been decided. How it will be presented has not been decided.

After we meet this afternoon, or possibly tomorrow, we will look at that thing and come a little closer.


We talked about the revenues and I told them that as near as we can estimate, the financial picture is better than we had expected. I have to rely on the Budget and the Economic Council, and the Treasury, for the revenue figures, as well as the expenditure figures.

But as nearly as they can calculate in January, they believe we will have a surplus this year contrasted with what we had thought would be a deficit last year. That is largely due to two things: the ability to curtail certain expenditures and the substantial increase in revenues.

What we will have next year, we do not know, because that decision has not been made, and I do not care to speculate on it.

I will be glad to take any other questions. I reviewed this with the leadership, on what happened this morning. You don't have a full complement here and I don't want to get into a lot of other details, because I have meetings set. But George thought I could explain to you generally a little better this way.

So, if you have any questions that happen to need clarification, I will be glad to answer them.



Q. Would you expect that the State of the Union Message would be this week?

THE PRESIDENT. I would want to talk to them this afternoon or tomorrow about that and try to give you a little firmer indication after those meetings.

Q. What are your own feelings, sir? Would you like to deliver it yourself?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not reached a decision on that.

I have covered, I think, most of the things that you will ask.


Q. Did you talk about the Nonproliferation Treaty?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't believe it was mentioned. My views have been presented on that. Last July I urged them to act on it as soon as possible.5 They did point out some of the problems that they had in the Senate now without regard to that, but which would affect it, namely, organizing the committees and adding to and decreasing them, new Members coming in and being assigned, and things of that nature, procedural organization in the Senate; and, second, the Rule 22 matter. So that would have a bearing on it. I would hope that as soon as they can, they will get to it. I believe that it would have been better if we had ratified it last summer.


Q. When you speak of a surplus, first, what order of magnitude is the surplus, and, secondly, does it take into consideration supplemental appropriations?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, it does take in supplemental The answer is yes to that. The order of magnitude, I would say, is a small one, relatively speaking.

Q. Mr. President, what is the background of the substantial increase in revenues?

THE PRESIDENT. The economy has been going well. We have the lowest unemployment we have had in 15 years.

I don't want to, by answering your question, get into this "you never had it so good" criticism. But we have more employment, higher wages. Of course, inflation and prices are up. All of that brings more revenue.

The revenues will be up considerably. The reductions that Congress voted will be down from what we anticipated the budget would be. It won't be a big surplus, but we hope it will be a surplus.

Q. Is this in the same ball park area you were talking about when you were in the hospital?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't remember the statement to which you refer. Thank you, gentlemen.

Reporter: Thank you, sir.

1 George E. Christian, Special Assistant to the President.

2 See Item 6843 See Item 678.

4 See Item 676.

5 On July 9, 1968, the President transmitted the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to the Senate (see Item 378). It was favorably considered by the Senate on March 13, 1969. The text is printed in Senate Executive H (90th Cong., 2d sess.) and in the Department of State Bulletin (vol. 59, p. 85).

Note: The President met with correspondents in his office at the White House at 10:20 a.m. on Monday, January 6, 1969.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to Reporters Following a Congressional Leadership Breakfast Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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