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    The President. Well, I hope he won't do that. You know, again, there 
has been an unprecedented amount of playing politics with Ambassadors, 
here. And again, it sends a signal to the rest of the world that there 
is a new isolationism in the country, that we don't really care whether 
we have Ambassadors in other places. We've got a hold on four other 
Ambassadors that--no one has questioned anything about their 
qualifications--for totally irrelevant reasons. And I think these things 
are not good for America.
    So I would hope that Senator Moseley-Braun and the other Ambassadors 
would be quickly confirmed. And I will work as hard as I can to see 
that's done.

Support for Gore Campaign

    Q. Does it bother you, sir, that Vice President Gore says he may 
decide he doesn't need your help in the campaign?
    The President. No.
    Q. Why not?
    The President. Because he has to--I agree with him. I think he ought 
to make that decision at the time, based on the--for one thing, no one 
can help anyone else in the campaign beyond a certain point. You can 
make phone calls; you can go door-to-door; you can volunteer; you can 
call your friends.
    But when I was Governor, I remember one of the best elections I ever 
had was in 1984, when President Reagan--who was at his all-time peak of 
popularity in 1984 and got 62 percent of the vote, I think, running for 
reelection--came to my State to campaign against me, and I got the same 
vote he did.
    And so--people are--elections, the American people know that in a 
representative form of government, they give the people that they vote 
for certain responsibilities. And then at election time, they're back in 
the driver's seat. So I think that that's a decision that we ought to 
make--or he ought to make--at an appropriate time, just--I agree with 
what he said about it.
    And I also think that it won't matter who says it, as much as it 
matters what is said. I just want the American people to make this 
judgment based on what's best for them. Who is the most likely to 
continue to change this country in the right direction? Who's the most 
likely to save Social Security and Medicare? Who's the most likely to 
advance childhood education? Who's the most likely to grow the economy 
and protect the environment? Who's the most likely to get this country 
out of debt for the first time since 1835? That's the only thing that 
    This election is not about all the players that get written about in 
Washington. This election is about the American people. And they are 
perfectly happy to make the decision that is theirs every 4 years. And 
they will make it for themselves. And the candidates will be the major 
players; everybody else, to a greater or lesser degree, is in a 
subordinate role, as they always have been.
    Press Secretary Joe Lockhart. Thank you, pool. Thank you.

Relationship With Republican Congress

    Q.  [Inaudible]--with the Republican leadership heading into this 
budget showdown?
    The President. Well, you know, I have always had a very cordial 
relationship with Senator Lott, and with Mr. Hastert since he's been 
there, the Speaker. And, you know, every Mr. DeLay came up here the 
other day for this adoption event, and we had a good visit. I wouldn't--
you know, I don't agree with them on the substance of a lot of this.
    But I don't--I've said this a hundred times. Let me say it one more 
time. I have

[[Page 2074]]

never, to the best of my knowledge, let political conflicts--even ones 
that had deeply personal overtones--get in the way of working with 
people who were also sent here. They were sent here just like I was, by 
the American people.
    And this is not an emotional issue. This is a job. We've got a job 
to do for the American people. We were hired to do it, and we need to do 
it. And so I feel good about it. And I hope that they'll come down here, 
and I hope we can work together and work something out. I'll do my best.

Note: The President spoke at 11:15 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White 
House. In his remarks, he referred to Pakistani Gen. Perrez Musharraf, 
army chief of staff, who led a coup d'etat in Pakistan on October 12. A 
tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2074-2076]
Monday, October 25, 1999
Volume 35--Number 42
Pages 2065-2124
Week Ending Friday, October 22, 1999
Message to the House of Representatives Returning Without Approval the 
``Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs 
Appropriations Act, 2000''

October 18, 1999

To the House of Representatives:

    I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 2606, the ``Foreign 
Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 
    The central lesson we have learned in this century is that we cannot 
protect American interests at home without active engagement abroad. 
Common sense tells us, and hard experience has confirmed, that we must 
lead in the world, working with other nations to defuse crises, repel 
dangers, promote more open economic and political systems, and 
strengthen the rule of law. These have been the guiding principles of 
American foreign policy for generations. They have served the American 
people well, and greatly helped to advance the cause of peace and 
freedom around the world.
    This bill rejects all of those principles. It puts at risk America's 
50-year tradition of leadership for a safer, more prosperous and 
democratic world. It is an abandonment of hope in our Nation's capacity 
to shape that kind of world. It implies that we are too small and 
insecure to meet our share of international responsibilities, too 
shortsighted to see that doing so is in our national interest. It is 
another sign of a new isolationism that would have America bury its head 
in the sand at the height of our power and prosperity.
    In the short term, H.R. 2606 fails to address critical national 
security needs. It suggests we can afford to underfund our efforts to 
keep deadly weapons from falling into dangerous hands and walk away 
without peril from our essential work toward peace in places of 
conflict. Just as seriously, it fails to address America's long-term 
interests. It reduces assistance to nations struggling to build 
democratic societies and open markets and backs away from our commitment 
to help people trapped in poverty to stand on their feet. This, too, 
threatens our security because future threats will come from regions and 
nations where instability and misery prevail and future opportunities 
will come from nations on the road to freedom and growth.
    By denying America a decent investment in diplomacy, this bill 
suggests we should meet threats to our security with our military might 
alone. That is a dangerous proposition. For if we underfund our 
diplomacy, we will end up overusing our military. Problems we might have 
been able to resolve peacefully will turn into crises we can only 
resolve at a cost of life and treasure. Shortchanging our arsenal of 
peace is as risky as shortchanging our arsenal of war.
    The overall funding provided by H.R. 2606 is inadequate. It is about 
half the amount available in real terms to President Reagan in 1985, and 
it is 14 percent below the level that I requested. I proposed to fund 
this higher level within the budget limits and without spending any of 
the Social Security surplus. The specific shortfalls in the current bill 
are numerous and unacceptable.
    For example, it is shocking that the Congress has failed to fulfill 
our obligations to Israel and its neighbors as they take risks and make 
difficult decisions to advance the Middle East peace process. My 
Administration, like all its predecessors, has fought hard to promote 
peace in the Middle East. This bill

[[Page 2075]]

would provide neither the $800 million requested this year as a 
supplemental appropriation nor the $500 million requested in FY 2000 
funding to support the Wye River Agreement. Just when Prime Minister 
Barak has helped give the peace process a jump start, this sends the 
worst possible message to Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians about 
America's commitment to the peace process. We should instead seize this 
opportunity to support them.
    Additional resources are required to respond to the costs of 
building peace in Kosovo and the rest of the Balkans, and I intend to 
work with the Congress to provide needed assistance. Other life-saving 
peace efforts, such as those in Sierra Leone and East Timor, are 
imperiled by the bill's inadequate funding of the voluntary peacekeeping 
    My Administration has sought to protect Americans from the threat 
posed by the potential danger of weapons proliferation from Russia and 
the countries of the former Soviet Union. But the Congress has failed to 
finance the Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative (ETRI), which is 
designed to prevent weapons of mass destruction and weapons technologies 
from falling into the wrong hands and weapons scientists from offering 
their talents to countries, or even terrorists, seeking these weapons. 
The bill also curtails ETRI programs that help Russia and other New 
Independent States strengthen export controls to avoid illicit 
trafficking in sensitive materials through their borders and airports. 
The ETRI will also help facilitate withdrawal of Russian forces and 
equipment from countries such as Georgia and Moldova; it will create 
peaceful research opportunities for thousands of former Soviet weapons 
scientists. We also cannot afford to underfund programs that support 
democracy and small scale enterprises in Russia and other New 
Independent States because these are the very kinds of initiatives 
needed to complete their transformation away from communism and 
    A generation from now, no one is going to say we did too much to 
help the nations of the former Soviet Union safeguard their nuclear 
technology and expertise. If the funding cuts in this bill were to 
become law, future generations would certainly say we did too little and 
that we imperiled our future in the process.
    My Administration has also sought to promote economic progress and 
political change in developing countries, because America benefits when 
these countries become our partners in security and trade. At the
Cologne Summit, we led a historic effort to enable the world's poorest 
and most heavily indebted countries to finance health, education, and 
opportunity programs. The Congress fails to fund the U.S. contribution. 
The bill also severely underfunds Multilateral Development Banks, 
providing the lowest level of financing since 1987, with cuts of 37 
percent from our request. This will virtually double U.S. arrears to 
these banks and seriously undermine our capacity to promote economic 
reform and growth in Latin America, Asia, and especially Africa. These 
markets are critical to American jobs and opportunities.
    Across the board, my Administration requested the funding necessary 
to assure American leadership on matters vital to the interests and 
values of our citizens. In area after area, from fighting terrorism and 
international crime to promoting nuclear stability on the Korean 
peninsula, from helping refugees and disaster victims to meeting its own 
goal of a 10,000-member Peace Corps, the Congress has failed to fund 
adequately these requests.
    Several policy matters addressed in the bill are also problematic. 
One provision would hamper the Export-Import Bank's ability to be 
responsive to American exporters by requiring that the Congress be 
notified of dozens of additional kinds of transactions before the Bank 
can offer financing. Another provision would allow the Export-Import 
Bank to operate without a quorum until March 2000. I have nominated two 
individuals to the Bank's Board, and they should be confirmed.
    A third provision could be read to prevent the United States from 
engaging in diplomatic efforts to promote a cost-effective, global 
solution to climate change. A fourth provision places restrictions on 
assistance to Indonesia that could harm our ability to influence the 
objectives we share with the Congress: ensuring that Indonesia honors 
the referendum in East Timor and that security is

[[Page 2076]]

restored there, while encouraging democracy and economic reform in 
Indonesia. Finally, this bill contains several sections that, if treated 
as mandatory, would encroach on the President's sole constitutional 
authority to conduct diplomatic negotiations.
    In sum, this appropriations bill undermines important American 
interests and ignores the lessons that have been at the core of our 
bipartisan foreign policy for the last half century. Like the Senate's 
recent vote to defeat the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, this bill 
reflects an inexcusable and potentially dangerous complacency about the 
opportunities and risks America faces in the world today. I therefore am 
returning this bill without my approval.
    I look forward to working with the Congress to craft an 
appropriations bill that I can support, one that maintains our 
commitment to protecting the Social Security surplus, properly 
addressing our shared goal of an America that is strong at home and 
strong abroad, respected not only for our leadership, but for the vision 
and commitment that real leadership entails. The American people deserve 
a foreign policy worthy of our great country, and I will fight to ensure 
that they continue to have one.
                                            William J. Clinton
The White House,
October 18, 1999.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2076-2078]
Monday, October 25, 1999
Volume 35--Number 42
Pages 2065-2124
Week Ending Friday, October 22, 1999
Message to the Congress Transmitting the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

October 18, 1999

To the Congress of the United States:

    As required by section 307(c) of the Energy Reorganization Act of 
1974 (42 U.S.C. 5877(c)), I transmit herewith the Annual Report of the 
United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which covers activities 
that occurred in fiscal year 1998.
                                            William J. Clinton
The White House,
October 18, 1999. Remarks on Arrival in Newark,
New Jersey, and an Exchange
With Reporters

October 18, 1999

Hurricane Floyd Disaster Relief Funding

    The President. I want to begin my visit to New Jersey by announcing 
several steps our administration is taking, either today or previously 
over the weekend, to deliver Federal assistance to the citizens in the 
communities of New Jersey that were hurt and are recovering from the 
flood damage caused by Hurricane Floyd. We're doing all we can, and I 
hope these steps will help.
    Earlier today, I directed the Department of Health and Human 
Services to release $5 million in LIHEAP funds to New Jersey for energy-
related damage caused by the hurricane. The Low Income Energy Assistance 
Program makes funds available for emergency use to help at-risk families 
in times of weather distress and in the aftermath of natural disasters. 
The State can use the funds for utility repairs, for furnace and air 
conditioning replacement, for the removal of damaged insulation, and for 
energy costs related to the crisis.
    Initially over the weekend, the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development announced the early availability of approximately $34 

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