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Sixth, it includes tax relief for the American people, but _ thanks t

May 3, 1997

Sixth, it includes tax relief for the American people, but _ thanks to the rules of the Senate and the agreement of the leaders _ the tax relief will be limited, and we’ll know the dollar amount not only for the first five years, but for the second five years following, so that we will not run the risk of having an explosion in the deficit as a result of unintended leaks in the tax program, so that when we tell the American people we’re going to balance the budget, we know we can keep it balanced, and we won’t get ourselves back into the difficulties we’ve seen over the last 15 years.

Like Americans of all political views, I have been deeply committed to this, but I wanted a balanced budget with balanced values. I believe we have got it today.

There are things in this budget that _ everyone will find something that he or she disagrees with. Everyone could find something that he or she wishes were in the budget. There is no perfect agreement. But as I said, we know America is more prosperous when we have fiscal discipline, when we invest in our future, and when we do it in the right way. We have evidence of that.

It’ll never get any easier to do this job. Senator Lott made that point to me on the phone the other night. He said, ``You know, when you’re doing well, it’s easier to balance the budget than it is when you’re not. This is not going to get any easier. We have to do it now.″

And I said, ``I agree with you, and we are going to do it.″

So I ask Americans of all political parties and all philosophies to look at this plan, give it your support. Let’s balance the budget and get on about the new business of preparing America for a new century.

And I thank you, and I’d like to ask Senator Daschle now to come up and say a word.

Go ahead.

Sen. Tom Daschle (Senate minority leader, D-SD): Mr. President, this agreement marks another achievement in what has been a remarkable success now over the last four years.

You cited some of the indications of the extraordinary success we enjoy in our economy and our country today. And it hasn’t been easy. Twelve million new jobs, 3 million new small businesses, a deficit which has gone from $295 billion now to what is projected this year, $70 billion. An unemployment rate that is the lowest, as you’ve indicated, in three decades. This remarkable record can be attributed to your leadership and to the extraordinary success we have enjoyed in working with you.

So it is with great anticipation that we look now to the next four years and an equal level of success in achieving the kind of record that we all want; indeed, with the protection for the priorities that Democrats have fought for, as you so eloquently have indicated in so many ways on so many occasions: the need for strong education, the need to insure children, the need to build a strong infrastructure in this country that allows safe streets, the need to ensure that we continue to grow this economy with more jobs and more businesses. In my view, this agreement will protect those priorities.

And so having had the opportunity now, especially in the last 24 hours, to even add to the agreement that was originally and tentatively reached 24 hours...I say with some confidence that the senators and congressmen standing behind me _ congress people standing behind me are an indication of the degree of support there is in the Democratic Caucus.

And I am confident today that a majority of Democrats in the United States Senate will support this agreement. I would hope, given the fact that four years ago we passed your first economic plan by one vote, that it will be a majority of Democrats and a majority of Republicans. Working with the majority on both sides, we can achieve a bipartisan agreement that will lead us to the economic vitality for which we all hope.

Q: Mr. President _

Clinton: Senator Lautenberg?

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.): Thank you very much, Mr. President. This is an exciting moment and will be recorded so in the history of our country. Your determination, Mr. President, to see that we carried on with the democratic ideals, with the responsibility that we have to our citizens, made the difference. When we needed help, you were there to join in, to announce your support. Occasionally, Mr. President, I heard some screams from the background as you twisted an arm or two, but Mr. President, they all willingly agreed then.

To my leader, Tom Daschle, who worked with a steady hand and gave us enough rope, as they say, or enough room to get the job done. The vice president was helpful whenever we called upon him to intervene, to talk to the people on the other side to get them to come along.

The Republicans were cooperative, Congressman Kasich and Senator Domenici. It was done in a positive spirit all the way, even if we disagreed, and there were many, many moments that looked like the thing could fall apart at any time, but the determination of the president and the rest of us to get this job done made this happen.


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