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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, January 31, 1994
Volume 30--Number 4
Pages 135-165

[[Page i]]

Weekly Compilation of



[[Page ii]]

Addresses to the Nation

    State of the Union--148

Addresses and Remarks

    See also Appointments and Nominations
    Los Angeles earthquake
        Roundtable discussion--135
    Radio address--139

Appointments and Nominations

    Air Force Department, Assistant Secretary--147
    Army Department, Assistant Secretaries--147
    Defense Department, Secretary, remarks--144
    Environmental Protection Agency, Region I Administrator--160
    Federal Maritime Commission, Commissioner--147
    Transportation Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Commandant--157
    U.S. Court of Appeals, judges--160
    U.S. District Court, judges--160
    Veterans Affairs Department, Deputy Assistant Secretary--159

Communications to Congress

    Bulgaria, message--157

Communications to Congress--Continued

    Cyprus, letter--146
    Greece, agreement on Social Security, message transmitting--158
    Organization of American States protocols, message transmitting to 
        the Senate--158

Executive Orders

    North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission--159
    North Pacific Marine Science Organization--159
    Principles for Federal Infrastructure Investments--160

Interviews With the News Media

    Exchanges with reporters
        Oval Office--143
        State Floor--144

Statements by the President

    See  Appointments and Nominations

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--165
    Checklist of White House press releases--164
    Digest of other White House announcements--162
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--163


Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register, National 
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[[Page 135]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 135-139]
Monday, January 31, 1994
Volume 30--Number 4
Pages 135-165
Week Ending Friday, January 28, 1994
Remarks in a Roundtable Discussion on the Los Angeles Earthquake in 
Burbank, California

January 19, 1994

    The President. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Mayor.
    Ladies and gentlemen, first let me say that I always learn something 
when I come to southern California. Very often in the last 2 years I 
have come here when things were difficult for people, and I always walk 
away utterly astonished.
    I would like to say two things by way of introduction. First, on 
behalf of all the people on our Federal team, we want to thank the Mayor 
and the members of the City Council and city government, the Governor 
and the State legislators, Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, the Members 
of the United States Congress, the members of the county government, 
people I have already met with here today. The sense of teamwork here 
has been truly extraordinary. And I appreciate all of you doing that so 
    When I became President, one of the things I most wanted to do was 
to give the American people a high level of confidence that their 
Government at least would work in basic ways and that they could trust 
us at least to do the basic human things right without regard to party, 
philosophy, whatever fights we were having over economic policy or 
anything else in the world, that when the chips were down, the basic 
things that people were entitled to have that done by their National 
Government, they would feel that. And I suppose there's no more 
important area than in an emergency for people to have that kind of 
    The second thing I want to say is, I never cease to be amazed by the 
energy and the optimism, the courage and the constant good humor of so 
many millions of people in this State against all odds. And I walked the 
crowds today--through these crowds. I saw public workers that haven't 
slept more than 2 or 3 hours in 3 days working on the roads, the water 
lines, the gas lines. We saw countless numbers of people who had lost 
their homes, who didn't know when they were going to be able to go back 
to work. We saw children asking us to help get their schools fixed so 
they could go back to school. I met a man who had saved three homes in 
his neighborhood, along with a team of firemen. I met a woman who had 
lost her home--this is unbelievable--lost her home, who said to me, 
``You know, I lost my home, and I'm really grateful you folks are coming 
here to help, but when you go to that meeting this afternoon, I hope 
you'll just ask everybody to do the right thing.'' She said, ``Ask 
people not to overcharge us for water. But ask all the people who are 
hurt not to take advantage of FEMA.'' She said, ``You know, somebody in 
the rest of this country might get in trouble later this year. And I 
lost my home, but we're going to do some of this ourselves. And I heard 
some people who were asking for reimbursement for things that were 
already broken in their homes.'' And she said, ``We just all ought to do 
the right thing, and we'll come out okay.'' And so I say to all of you 
who are elected, you've got a lot to be proud of just in the people that 
you represent.
    The Mayor has already mentioned all the people in the Federal team 
who came out here, but I would like to thank them. FEMA Director James 
Lee Witt and Secretary Cisneros, Secretary Pena, the Federal Highway 
Administrator Rodney Slater, the Deputy Secretary of Commerce David 
Barram, John Emerson, from my staff, came out here early. All told, 
we've had about 1,500 Federal personnel in California, Washington, and 
at the teleregistration center in Denton, Texas, working on this. And as 
I said, it's really been a joy to work with the local and the State 
officials. I think we're all about to get the hang of working with each 
other, but we

[[Page 136]]

hope we don't have another chance to do it very soon.
    As you know, I was asked to declare a disaster declaration on the 
day that the earthquake occurred, and I did that. And we'll be talking 
later in this meeting about the whole range of Federal services that are 
available and about the disaster assistance centers that FEMA will set 
up and how people can access them. I ask all of you who are Federal 
officials and State officials and county officials and local officials 
to help us with this.
    I looked at those people today, and a lot of those folks are not 
used to fooling with the Government for anything. They're not used to 
asking for help, they're not--they can't be charged with the knowledge 
of what is in a FEMA program, or in an SBA program or some other agency 
program. We're going to do our very best to make it easy and accessible 
for them. And they'll talk more about that in a minute. But you can help 
us a lot, Mayor, all of you can help us a lot by simply telling us if 
it's reaching people. And when this is all over, Leon Panetta and I have 
to go back to Washington and figure out how to pay for it--[laughter]--
and that's our job. But it won't work unless it actually works.
    When I was walking up and down those lines today looking at those 
folks, I thought most of these people are just good hard-working people 
trying to do the right thing. And it never occurred to them that they 
would ever have to figure out how to work their way through a maze of 
any sort of Federal program, whatever. So one of the things that all of 
you can do to help us is to be good intermediaries, and if it's not 
working to let us know. If we need to be some place we're not, let us 
know. And that's, I think, very, very important.
    The other point I want to make is that we'll be talking a lot about 
emergency aid today, but we recognize that it's going to take a good 
while to finish this work. When I was out at the place where the highway 
broke down, one of many, I asked how long it would take to fix it. And 
the highway engineer said, ``Oh, probably about a year.'' And I said, 
``Well, what do you have to do to fix it in less time?'' It's not just a 
question of money, it's also a question of organization. We'll talk more 
about that today.
    I want to make three specific announcements today, but to make this 
point: This is a national problem, and we have a national responsibility 
and we will be in it for the long run. This is not something where all 
of us from the Federal Government just showed up while this is an issue 
in the headlines, gripping the hearts and emotions of all your 
countrymen and women who feel for you all the way to the tip of northern 
Maine and the tip of southern Florida. This is something we intend to 
stay with until the job is over.
    And in that connection, I have been authorized to say that today the 
Small Business Administration will be releasing enough money to support 
about $240 million in new low-interest loans to people who qualify for 
them. We will release $45 million in new funds from the Department of 
Transportation to support the beginning of all the cleanup and the 
beginning of the repair movement. You know, there's a lot of, 
unfortunately, a lot of destruction now that has to be done on those 
roads before the construction can start. So that will accelerate that 
    And the third thing I want to say is that as soon as we get good 
cost estimates, and the Governor and the Mayor have given us some today, 
but as soon as we get good cost estimates on what the losses are and 
what kinds of things fall within the responsibility of the Federal 
Government, we will then see how much money we now have already 
appropriated for disasters. And then, along with your congressional 
delegation, I expect to ask the Congress for an emergency supplemental 
appropriation for California as soon as the Congress returns on January 
the 25th. And I believe the Congress will do the right thing. And I want 
to tell you that this is something I think the California delegation 
will be absolutely united on. And we've already had the conversations 
with them. I'm grateful that so many members of the delegation are here 
    Let me just say one final thing. I have been asked also by several 
people, by the Mayor, the Governor, the Senators among others today, 
about the matching requirement. Generally, in any emergency, there's a 
25-percent match requirement which the Federal Government can waive--can 
be waived

[[Page 137]]

so that the match requirement goes down to 10 percent for State and 
local contribution to disaster assistance. I wish I could just come here 
today and tell you that I could waive that. We waived it in the Midwest 
flood, when we had the floods earlier this year. We had a 500-year 
flood, the worst flood that we hope it only comes along every 500 years. 
I think you have a very strong case for waiver, but before we can 
approve it, under the law we have to have a realistic assessment of what 
the costs are, because the criteria established by Congress for waiver 
is that the burdens on the State and local resources will be too great 
to reasonably bear, given the other problems. Now, if you look at the 
economic problems that California and southern California have had alone 
in the last 4 years, I don't think it will be too difficult for you to 
make that case. But it is not legally possible for me to say until I see 
the numbers and the arguments. So you have to make the case, we will 
work with you to help you make that case. But that's a commitment I 
can't make today until we see the evidence under the law.
    We will proceed with the emergency supplemental. And I'd like to 
spend the rest of the meeting just sort of listening to what's going on, 
what the problems are, because when I leave here today, I want to have a 
clear sense that we have our act together and that when we go back to 
Washington we'll be able to do our part there while you're doing your 
part here.
    And the last point I want to make, again, is that we have no 
intention, none, of letting this be a short-term thing. We will stay 
with you until this job is finished. Thank you very much.

[At this point, Gov. Pete Wilson, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Senator 
Barbara Boxer thanked the administration for their response and 
discussed efforts being made to assist victims and repair damage. Los 
Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan outlined areas of concern, and Dick 
Andrews, director of the office of State emergency services, discussed 

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