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pd06fe95 Remarks to the National Governors' Association Meeting...

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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, February 6, 1995
Volume 31--Number 5
Pages 131-191

[[Page i]]
Weekly Compilation of



[[Page ii]]
Addresses and Remarks

    See also Appointments and Nominations
    Boston, MA
        Mayor's Youth Council--158
        New England Presidential dinner--164
    Defense budget--171
    Democratic Governors Association dinner--147
    Minimum wage initiative--184
    Moldova, visit of President Snegur--141
    National Association of Home Builders--143
    National Governors' Association
    National Prayer Breakfast--172
    Radio address--135
    Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers--138
    U.S. Conference of Mayors--131
    Welfare reform--135

Appointments and Nominations

    Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States 
        Intelligence Community, statement--182
    Health and Human Services Department, Surgeon General of the Public 
        Health Service, remarks--179
    State Department, Ambassador to Panama, letter on withdrawal--151

Communications to Congress

    Armenia, message on trade--188
    Haiti, report--185
    Health and Human Services Department, message transmitting report--
    Libya, report--156
    Narcotics producing and transit countries, letter--182
    National Institute of Building Sciences, message transmitting 
    Science, Technology, and American Diplomacy, letter transmitting 

Executive Orders

    Amendment to Executive Order No. 12898 (Federal Actions To Address 
        Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income 

Interviews With the News Media

    Exchanges with reporters
        Oval Office--141, 179
    Interview with religious journalists--173

Joint Statements

    President Snegur of Moldova--142

Meetings With Foreign Leaders

    Moldova, President Snegur--141, 142


    To Amend the Generalized System of Preferences--187
(Contents continued on inside of back cover.)

Statements by the President

    See also Appointments and Nominations
    Algeria, terrorist attack--155
    Death of Jim Grant--137
    Mexico, financial assistance--155

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--191
    Checklist of White House press releases--190
    Digest of other White House announcements--189
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--190


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[[Page 131]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 131-135]
Monday, February 6, 1995
Volume 31--Number 5
Pages 131-191
Week Ending Friday, February 3, 1995
Remarks to the U.S. Conference of Mayors

January 27, 1995

    Thank you very much. I'm delighted to be here. I see that half of 
the Cabinet is here. I guess they've already answered all your 
questions, solved all your problems. Now they can come solve ours. 
    Mayor Ashe and distinguished members of the organization, I'm 
delighted to see all of you. Is Mayor Grant from East Providence here? 
Your wife told me this was your birthday. Happy birthday. Happy 
birthday. Just wanted you to know I was checking up on you. [Laughter]
    Let me begin by saying congratulations to all of you on the 
overwhelming passage of the unfunded mandate legislation by the Senate 
today, 86 to 10 the bill passed. I have not had a chance to look at the 
final version of the Senate bill. It just passed a little while ago. But 
I know some very good amendments were added, and I want to congratulate 
Senator Glenn and Senator Kempthorne. We worked very hard on this bill 
last year, and I was sorry we didn't pass it then. Both of them did 
very, very good work. And I believe the bill is a very strong one as it 
goes to the House. But I have not seen its final form, but I heard it 
was in good shape. And it must have been pretty good if it passed 86 to 
10. And I think that should be reassuring to you; it certainly is to me.
    I want to thank you for the resolution you passed on the baseball 
strike and the action we are taking. We will work very hard on that. I 
know how important it is to you. I sometimes think that the full 
economic implications of this whole thing have not been evaluated, not 
just for the cities that have major league teams but also for the cities 
that host spring training. This is a big deal, and we're working on it.
    I want to thank your international committee for the vote you took 
on the Mexican stabilization package that we have offered. As you know, 
this is not the most popular issue in America today, but it's important. 
And I thank you for your support. It's in the interest of our working 
people and our economy. And it's not a gift; it's not foreign aid; it's 
not even a loan. It's cosigning a note with good collateral. So it's in 
our interests, and I thank you for that.
    When I came here 2 years ago with a mission to restore the American 
dream for all of the people of this country and to make sure we moved to 
the next century still the strongest force in the world for freedom and 
democracy and peace and prosperity, I said then and had said all during 
my campaign that I wanted a new partnership for the American people. I 
called it a New Covenant of more opportunity and more responsibility, 
recognizing that unless we had more of both, we could not hope to do the 
things that have to be done.
    I have sought to essentially focus on three things that I think are 
critical to making sure we succeed in this new economy: empowering our 
people to make the most of their own lives, expanding opportunity but 
shrinking the Federal Government bureaucracy, giving more authority to 
State and local governments and to the private sector. And I have sought 
to enhance the security of our people at home and abroad. In all those 
things you have been very helpful and supportive, both of the specific 
initiatives of this administration and of your own efforts which fit so 
well into that framework.
    As all of you know, in the last 2 years we've had a lot of 
successes. We now have the figures in on 1994's growth rate. We know it 
was the best economic year our country had since 1984. We know that the 
combined rates of unemployment and inflation are the lowest they have 
been in 30 years. We know that we have inflation at a 30-year low. We 
know that, among other things, the African-Amer- 

[[Page 132]]

ican unemployment rate went into single digits for the first time in 20 
    So there is a lot--[applause]--we've tried to expand more authority 
to our States and to our cities, and we're bringing the Federal 
Government down in size and reach where it's appropriate. We already 
have 100,000 fewer people working for the National Government than we 
did when I became President. And if nothing else is done, it will shrink 
by another 170,000. And of course, in terms of security, the most 
important things we did were to pass the Brady bill and the crime bill, 
which you were active in and supportive of, and I thank you for all 
    As we look ahead in this year, which promises to be somewhat 
unpredictable but exciting and I think could be very productive for our 
country--and I must say this passage of this bill today and the 
reasonable deliberation in the Senate and the way the amendments were 
debated in good faith is quite encouraging to me--there are some things 
that I think we have to do. In terms of empowering our people to meet 
the challenges of this age, we have to realize our job is still to 
expand the middle class and to shrink the underclass. And the two main 
initiatives our administration has this year are the middle class bill 
of rights and raising the minimum wage.
    We want to pass this middle class bill of rights, not only to give 
tax relief to middle class people who have been working harder for lower 
wages or for at least no wage increases but to do it in a way that will 
raise incomes in the short term and in the long term. That's why the 
focus is on tax deduction for all educational expenses after high school 
and an IRA with tax-free withdrawal for education expenses or for health 
care expenses or for the care of a parent or purchasing a first-time 
home, and why we seek to consolidate the 70 various training programs 
into one huge block and let people get directly a voucher that they can 
use if they're unemployed or if they have a low-wage job and they're 
eligible for training to take to the local community college or wherever 
else they wish to take it to get the education and training of their 
    I think it's important to raise the minimum wage, because if we 
don't next year the buying power of the minimum wage will be at a 40-
year low. And the evidence is clear that if you raise the minimum wage a 
modest amount, it doesn't cause increased unemployed and indeed may 
bring people back into the job market who otherwise are not willing to 
come in and go to work. So I would hope you would support both of those 
    In the area of expanding opportunity and shrinking the bureaucracy, 
we're coming back with a second round of reinventing Government 
proposals--and perhaps Secretary Cisneros has already talked to you 
about what we're proposing for HUD--to collapse the 60 programs into 3.
    I want to emphasize that we're doing this to strengthen the mission 
of HUD and to strengthen the partnership that we have with the cities of 
this country, not to gut the Department's partnership or its capacity to 
help you do your job.
    And so I hope that you will help us as we debate this on both parts, 
say that you want to support a reduction in the size of the Federal 
bureaucracy, but you do not want to see the mission of HUD as carried 
out by the mayors of this country undermined and weakened because you 
have a job to do.
    Finally, let me say some things about the crime bill. I very much 
hope that we will be able to work through, in this session of Congress, 
a good faith carrying forward of the crime bill that was passed last 
year. It became unfortunately embroiled in politics; you know that 
better than I do. And I think you also know that the prevention programs 
that were passed were programs that were recommended to us in the 
strongest possible terms not only by mayors, not only by community 
leaders but by the leaders of the law enforcement community and that a 
lot of those prevention programs that were later labeled as pork were 
cosponsored, the first time they came up, by people who later said they 
were pork.
    Well, all that's behind us now, and the only thing that matters now 
is, what is the best thing for the people of this country? What will 
keep our streets safer? What will reduce the crime rate more? What is 
the most likely approach to actually make the American peo- 

[[Page 133]]

ple feel more secure? We must enhance our security at home. At the end 
of the cold war, I think it's fair to say that most Americans put their 
children to bed at night more worried about their security concerns at 
home than abroad.
    So what we should seek to do without regard to party or region of 

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