Public Papers

Exchange With Reporters in the Oval Office


Economic Growth Package

Q. Mr. President, what do you really think about the economic package that was presented to you yesterday?

The President. I'm for it.

Q. You're for it?

The President. Yes.

Q. How strongly?

The President. That's what I've said.

Q. Enough to keep Congress in session?

The President. Listen, Congress has been here all year long. If they want to pass this, let them pass it today.

Q. You're not going to ask them to stay in?

The President. I want the package passed, and I want to see it done fast. And I've wanted a lot of legislation that they've had all year to pass. And this kind of ploy at the end is just that; it's a ploy. We've got a good package up there. I've had one up there all year long. Now there's another good one. Let's see them vote on it. They can vote if they want to. This idea of dancing around, that's not good enough for the American people.

Q. The Republicans -- --

The President. Look, we've got to get on with our business here. Put me down as enthusiastically for it.

Q. You were misinterpreted, weren't you?

The President. Misinterpreted. If they just print what I say, what our statements say, then we would avoid some of this interpretation. I am for this, would like to see it voted on today. And there's no point in Congress sticking around in my view.

Q. Sir, the economy-troubled ordinary Americans wonder, why not keep them in?

The President. Because they've been here all year long, and the economy's in trouble. That's the answer. Okay.

Q. Are you blaming them?

The President. You heard what I said. Just print it as I said it without interpretation.

Q. I promise you a verbatim report.

The President. That's good. It's all we can ask.

Soviet Union

Q. Mr. President, coming back to Soviet Union, I'm Pravda correspondent. Our country is living through very difficult times now. How can the United States help us to live through it?

The President. We're going to talk about it today. We're trying to help with our agricultural program. We're trying to help in many other ways. In fact, we just finished a long meeting. We're very interested in helping the people, particularly the people that are hurting right now, and then facilitating this move to a market economy which will eventually mean prosperity for all. So, that's what we're going to be discussing right now. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 11:35 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House prior to a meeting with Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev of the Russian Republic. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.