THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY DEE DEE MYERS The Briefing Room
9:30 A.M. EST
MS. MYERS: Schedule -- the President will appear with Vice President Gore this morning and make an environmental announcement about streamlining the process and reaffirm his commitment to elevating the EPA to Cabinet level.
Then at 2:00 p.m. he'll meet with economic advisors. There also will be a photo at the top of that meeting. And that's really it.
Q The coverage on the 11:00 a.m. thing is kind of confusing. It says open coverage, one camera organization, but does that mean all correspondents are invited or just pool correspondents?
MS. MYERS: I believe they're going to try to do it all correspondents. And the President and the Vice President will make an announcement. The President will then leave and the Vice President will take questions.
I forgot to mention the President is meeting with President Ozal of Turkey at 2:30 p.m.
Q Will there be a photo op?
MS. MYERS: Yes, there will be a photo op with Ozal as well.
Q How does he raise the EPA to Cabinet level? Does he go through legislation? What happens to all the environmental agencies in the government -- I mean, Council on Environmental Quality, et cetera? What is the plan?
MS. MYERS: That's what they will announce today. It will, in effect, be a streamlining of environmental responsibilities, which will not only make the process work more effectively, but help get toward the goal of reducing the White House staff.
Q With a bill?
MS. MYERS: No. The reorganization doesn't require a bill, what the President and Vice President will announce today. Elevating the EPA to Cabinet level will. The President said throughout the campaign and transition that he supported that and he continues to support it and will push for it.
Q So there are two things he's going to do --
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q -- he going to make the agency Cabinet level by seeking legislation, right?
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q And then he's going to reorganize the whole environment or the White House?
MS. MYERS: The White House environmental responsibility.
Q Is the Council on Environmental Quality going away?
MS. MYERS: There will be some major changes, and at 11:00 a.m. the President will make an announcement.
Q I'm confused. Will he announce today that he will send up legislation on making EPA a Cabinet level position?
MS. MYERS: Yes, he supports that. The legislation is not drafted, no, but he's going to work with Congress to --
Q But that is part of his announcement today?
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q How many jobs do you think this will eliminate. I would think that if you create a department --
MS. MYERS: It's not creating a department, it's streamlining environmental responsibility. Right now, it's sort of spread among a variety of different places, and what the President and the Vice President will announce is a streamlining of those responsibilities.
Q But it won't be a department?
MS. MYERS: No, it's not a department. It's reorganizing the environmental responsibility within the White House.
Q If it becomes a Cabinet -- member of the Cabinet, it will be a department, won't it?
MS. MYERS: Correct. That's separate. These are both environmentally-oriented announcements.
Q If he reorganizes the White House staff and if he does eventually get a Cabinet level department, would the White House unit remain to work autonomously from the department?
MS. MYERS: Yes, and to coordinate environmental legislation and environmental issues.
Q Isn't that the same kind of duplication that they've got now between --
MS. MYERS: No, because what they're going to do is streamline the current White House structure. The President has always said that he wanted to elevate the EPA new Cabinet level. He's going to do that. EPA will continue to serve it's function.
What the President and Vice President will announce today is a streamlining of the White House environmental responsibility to make it function more effectively and serve, in effect, as a sort of a clearinghouse for environmental responsibilities throughout the federal government as the National Economic Council does, for example, for economic policy.
Q Why wouldn't the department do that is what Anne, I think, is trying to say is, and I am, too. I mean, isn't this a duplication?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q Wouldn't it go through domestic policy basically?
MS. MYERS: There is a separate group of staff that work on environmental issues in the White House. Right now you have the Council on Environmental Quality and other things.
You would keep them?
MS. MYERS: It's going to be reorganized. Right now, again, environmental responsibility is spread out throughout the White House, it's not streamlined. It can be a lot more efficient. That's what the announcement today will focus on.
Q Well, you don't have a veterans staff here or an education staff on the White House staff. Why would you keep an environmental staff within the White House itself?
MS. MYERS: Because the President believes that environmental issues are critically important and that there are several separate agencies that deal with environmental issues and they want to make sure that those are adequately represented. There are people within the White House who deal with veterans' issues and what have you.
Q Do you have a commitment from congressional leaders to proceed with this legislation? Because making the EPA a Cabinet-level department was a Bush idea that went nowhere on its own.
MS. MYERS: Well, that's because they never pursued it. It wasn't because there wasn't support for it in Congress.
Q Is the President interviewing any candidates for attorney general today? And would you guide us away or toward expecting an announcement today?
MS. MYERS: I would guide you away from expecting an announcement today. I don't know whether he'll meet with anybody but I expect he will do some work on it.
Q Why are some perspective Cabinet members asked about their employment of household help and others are not?
MS. MYERS: Well, I don't think anybody was asked specifically about it before Zoe Baird. I think most people now who are going through confirmation process will be asked about, regardless of their position, regardless of their gender. I think in this political environment, it's only prudent to ask people those questions now.
Q Was Carol Browner asked about her employment of household help?
MS. MYERS: Like I said, no one was asked about it before Zoe Baird specifically. I don't think this was an issue before Zoe Baird.
Q Are you going to survey the Cabinet and all the top side of the government now to find out if there are any other heresies?
MS. MYERS: There are no specific plans. I think you all are working very hard on that. There are a number of inquires underway.
Q But you have no plans to find out, though?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q Has the President asked anyone on his staff to check with the senior White House staff to see if any such situations exist on the senior White House staff?
MS. MYERS: Not that I know of.
Q Dee Dee, even if you find out that they've had illegal aliens in their past, so what? Nothing's going to be done, right? Except you're going to ask them to pay their taxes? I mean, Ron Brown admitted on TV that he went through this.
MS. MYERS: Correct. And I think what we need here is a reasonable standard. I think a lot of people have employed domestic help, either to help -- either as babysitters or people to help with domestic chores or mow the lawn. I think that many people didn't realize that if you paid somebody more than $50 a quarter you were expected to pay Social Security taxes. I think people who may have made that error, like Brown, are now going to go back and try to correct it. But I think you have to look at that is sort of a common mistake. It's not something that would disqualify somebody from serving.
Q Since Kimba Wood did nothing wrong isn't a little late to ask for a reasonable standard?
MS. MYERS: There's a separate issue -- well, unfortunately, it is a little late. I think in this political atmosphere, somebody who is going through the confirmation process to be the nation's top law enforcement officer, attorney general, is going to be held to a different standard during this period; there's no question about it. I also think that there is an issue of what she told the President and when she told him. And I think that's a point that we've tried to make.
Q It doesn't seem to be much of an issue anymore. You released her letter yesterday.
MS. MYERS: And I think that makes very clear that the details were not forthcoming, and that's a separate kind of problem. I mean, she hadn't been chosen as attorney general, she was but one of several candidates. And I think that that became an issue in this election process. I think the knife cuts pretty thin when you get to the level of attorney general.
Q When you say she hadn't disclosed everything, she had forwarded the papers --
MS. MYERS: She had not forwarded the papers. She brought the papers with her, but did not give them to anybody until several days later. The process -- there's a logic to the process. The first thing you do is, you bring people in, you screen them generally, you set up a series of interviews, people talk to prospective candidates. If the President and others are interested in moving forward with the process, then there's a more serious vetting process that takes place. In the process of that more serious vetting, the sort of full content of this issue was disclosed. That's how the process is supposed to work. The process, in fact, did work.
Q How important was -- or was it or was it not important at all, this Playboy bunny business?
MS. MYERS: It was not an issue; it was never an issue.
Q Let me ask you on that particular issue -- there are some who suggest that it was an act of vindictiveness on the part of some officials in the White House leaking that information to the news media to embarrass Judge Wood when all of this thing was coming to a head Friday night.
MS. MYERS: That was the unfortunate act of some cowboy who thought he or she was acting in the administration's interest. It was never the administration's position that that was an issue and it's unfortunate that that ever was out there.
Q Do you know who that cowboy was?
MS. MYERS: I have no idea.
Q Was it an official in the White House?
MS. MYERS: I don't know. I'd like to know. If you find out please tell me.
Q Is Charles Ruff still on the potential list, despite the fact that he went and paid back taxes on someone who worked for him?
MS. MYERS: I cannot comment on who might be on or off the list, but I think that everybody who is being reviewed as a candidate is being asked questions about their potential babysitting situations.
Q But that alone would not disqualify him?
MS. MYERS: I think it would be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Q Do you think, in fact, there's a double standard here where women are held responsible for their employment of nannies and men are not?
MS. MYERS: No. I think that it happen to come up in the context of Zoe Baird. I think Kimba Wood fell on the heels of that, but I think that anybody with a similar situation would find themselves disqualified. If they had hired somebody illegally or failed to pay taxes on a long-term employee, I think that would be an issue.
Q What are the President's new orders for finding an AG?
MS. MYERS: They're the same as they have been. He would like somebody who is obviously highly qualified and highly thought of in the legal community, who is a good manager and can restore the morale of the Justice Department.
Q Has he started the search yet?
MS. MYERS: It's ongoing; sure, he's well into it.
Q And how many people has he interviewed so far?
MS. MYERS: Well, he's interviewed a number of people. I don't know exactly how many. But, as you know, the process has been ongoing. One candidate was eliminated last week, but the process is ongoing and he'll have a decision soon.
Q Is he planning on announcing more than the attorney general when he makes that announcement?
MS. MYERS: I don't think that decision has been made. I mean, I don't expect it.
Q How concerned are you about the fact that the lack of a solicitor general leaves all of the Bush policies basically in place with nobody to argue the administration's points?
MS. MYERS: We're moving quickly to correct that situation.
Q How soon do you think a solicitor general might be named?
MS. MYERS: I think we'll name an attorney general first and then a solicitor general will come soon after that.
Q Well, you're talking realistically a month probably.
MS. MYERS: We're moving as quickly as we can on that, and I think we'll have an announcement soon.
Q Will the new attorney general be part of the decisionmaking process in picking the solicitor general and the other senior staff at the Justice Department, or will all those decisions be made by the White House and the new attorney general be forced to accept whoever the White House wants?
MS. MYERS: No, the White House has been working in concert with the various Cabinet secretaries to make decisions about under secretaries and other appointments. So I expect the new attorney general will be able to participate in that process, just as have the other Cabinet secretaries.
Q Dee Dee, there's a report in the -- I think it was in the Wall Street Journal this morning, that the administration is looking at some kind of an increase in the minimum wage. Is that correct? Is that likely to be in --
MS. MYERS: That's something the President said he'd consider throughout the campaign, that the minimum wage is not increased in a number of years. But I don't know whether -- I mean, again, he's making final decisions about this package now and we'll have announcements next week.
Q Dee Dee, on the talk shows over this weekend, Secretary Reich mentioned very briefly something about raising corporate tax rates and the alternative minimum tax.
MS. MYERS: Yes.
Q Is it the position in the White House that corporations aren't taxed enough? What is the thinking that's going on behind it?
MS. MYERS: The President said throughout the campaign that he'd look at raising the alternative minimum tax. In terms of corporations, the President has also said, consistently, that the people who did the best in the 1980's, whose incomes went up the most and taxes went down, including the wealthiest and many corporations, would be the first ones he would ask to help contribute in the 90's as we seek to reduce the deficit and get the economy moving again. So I think he will be looking at that.
Q The corporate tax as well --
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q -- not just the executive salaries.
MS. MYERS: There are a number of things that can be done and, again, those details will be announced next week. But he's certainly looking at it.
Q Well, Dee Dee, if you raise corporate taxes and minimum wage, doesn't that stifle job growth?
MS. MYERS: Well, again, all the details of the package will be announced next week. But, I mean, the objectives here are to create jobs, to reduce the deficit and to be just generally fair. And I think that the package next week will reflect those three goals.
Q Is the President also considering a suspension of indexation, and wouldn't that be a tax increase on the middle class?
MS. MYERS: Again, we won't have the details until next week.
Q But is that under consideration?
MS. MYERS: I can't rule it in and I can't rule it out until next week when we have the details. But he's looking at a number of things.
Q Is there any truth to the report that sweet little old ladies are being fired because they no longer wanted to write letters?
MS. MYERS: No. The President is committed to reducing the size of the White House staff. We'll have more on that within the next day or so. A number of positions are being eliminated, particularly those that are political appointees. We're reducing things like eliminating portal-to-portal drivers for some administration officials. Those are the kind of cuts that are --
Q Which ones?
MS. MYERS: Well, we'll have more on that tomorrow, but there was a story in The Post today about the NOAA director's portal-to-portal driver being dismissed. We're going to reduce some of those unnecessary benefit perks.
Q What did these ladies do exactly?
MS. MYERS: They worked in the correspondence department. They were Bush appointees and they worked in the correspondence --
Q No, no --
Q They worked over 20 years --
Q A long time. They weren't political --
Q These were women who write letters --
MS. MYERS: Well, again, there's -- I know that the person who
handles that for the administration worked in concert with a career
appointee who had managed that department for a long time to streamline
it and to put people in place there who both reflected the sort of goals
and values of this administration. Now, they weren't -- everybody there
-- like a lot of people
were let go, some will be hired back.
Q What are you saying --
MS. MYERS: But we're reducing the size of the White House staff; there's no question about it.
Q Are you saying that because they were oriented to the Republican Party that they're being fired?
MS. MYERS: I'm saying that we're reducing a lot of positions and a lot of those positions are considered political appointees, and that some of the people there -- people at all --jobs at all levels of this White House are going to be eliminated. And that's --
Q These positions that are going away, are these people who are being fired to be replaced by other appointees?
MS. MYERS: Most of them are positions that are going away.
Q So you won't have any correspondence department?
MS. MYERS: No, we'll have some correspondence department.
Q Dee Dee, is it the goal -- I'm still unclear. Is it the goal to reduce the staff by 25 percent or to reduce the White House budget by 25 percent?
MS. MYERS: We'll reduce both staff and budget. I'm not sure how the final numbers will come out, but we'll have more on that in the next day or two -- probably tomorrow.
Q Don't you think the impression was left that President Clinton intended to reduce the amount of spending on the White House staff by 25 percent and not just -- because, after all, I mean you can reach that 25 percent number rather quickly by firing some $25,000-to- $30,000-a-year stenos.
MS. MYERS: But that is not where the bulk of the reductions are going to come. There have been a lot of positions eliminated. I think people who covered the White House before know that. And we'll have the full series of those cuts in the next day or so.
Q It doesn't appear that your senior staff is any smaller than in the previous administration.
MS. MYERS: It is smaller; there's no question about it. And we'll have --
Q There are as many deputy assistants as there were under the Bush and Reagan administration.
MS. MYERS: I don't know that that's true and, again, we'll have the full details of that. But there have been cuts and will continue to be cuts at every level of the White House staff. I mean the President is very serious about this.
Q Is it your sense, though, that a lot of these positions that are going to be eliminated from the White House staff, these 20 older women for example, that the White House is not going to ask other agencies of the U.S. government to detail people here, keep them on the payrolls of their respective agencies and make it look like there's been a cut in the White House budget?
MS. MYERS: No. This is -- the President's very serious about this. This is not going to be a cosmetic reduction. This is a serious reduction in staff. I mean, the White House staff, Executive Office of the President has grown dramatically over the last couple of administrations, and President Clinton is committed to scaling it back. He's not going to ask the American people to contribute to getting the economy moving again and cutting the debt until he asks the government to contribute. And he's going to start right here in the White House.
Q How is he doing that? I mean, what is the system? What is the criteria?
MS. MYERS: Well, we'll have more on that tomorrow, on specifically what the criteria were and where the cuts are.
Q There's a story, I think, in The Washington Times today that the White House is hiring 40 people, or adding 40 slots at the same time that they're supposedly cutting back. Do you know anything about that?
MS. MYERS: I haven't seen that story.
Q Are you preparing a supplemental appropriation asking for $50 million to add jobs within the office -- Executive Office of the President?
MS. MYERS: I don't know. Is that in The Times story today -- Washington Times? I'll have to take a look at it. I haven't seen it, and I don't know anything about that proposal.
Q Dee Dee, Les Aspin's suggestion on Saturday that the President could have an announcement this week on Bosnia policy. When will that be forthcoming, and what form will it take?
MS. MYERS: We expect it to be sometime soon. As you know, the President's been working closely with his national security staff on Bosnia. He met with a group of senior advisors on Friday and has continued to do work on it. We'll have an announcement soon. We don't have a specific date.
Q This week?
MS. MYERS: It could come this week, but I don't want to say for sure that it will be this week.
Q What would be the forum for it?
MS. MYERS: The forum? We haven't made a decision about that yet.
Q Dee Dee, do you have any of the schedule for the week ahead, especially details on the trip to Detroit and the Vice President's somewhat simultaneous town meeting in California?
Q Also Hillary's trip to Pennsylvania.
MS. MYERS: The President will leave here Wednesday afternoon and fly to Detroit, will do some kind of public event. I don't know if it will be a rally or some kind of a meet-and-greet with citizens in Detroit before the town hall. Then there will be the town hall, and then he'll come back Wednesday night. So it will not be an overnight.
Simultaneously, the Vice President will fly to the West Coast. He's going to Ontario. He'll do a separate town hall in Ontario and he'll also return either, I guess, late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.
On Thursday, Mrs. Clinton is going to Pennsylvania where she'll spend the day with Senator Wofford. I don't have a complete schedule for that, but it will be around health care.
Q Does she take news media with her?
MS. MYERS: I don't know. You'll have to check with Lisa Caputo.
Q What time is she going?
MS. MYERS: I don't know all the details of her schedule. She'll visit more than one town. I believe Harrisburg and I think someplace else.
Q How would you describe all this travel?
MS. MYERS: I think it's part of an ongoing commitment by both the President, the Vice President and others in the administration to reach out to the American people, to continue a dialogue, to talk directly to them about the premise for his economic plan, what he thinks is important, where he wants to take the country and hear from them about what they're concerned about.
Q Don't you think that's already been on the record --
MS. MYERS: I think it is an ongoing process. I think the conversation needs to be ongoing. You can't have a campaign and --
Q Do you have anything specific to offer, or do any of them on these trips?
MS. MYERS: I think there's a lot of things specific to offer -- about his views about where the economy is. I think he'll have some details. He'll be able to talk to them in detail about cuts in the White House and in other government agencies. I think he's going to tell them directly that he won't ask them to contribute until he's squeezed every dime he can out of government. And then he's going to ask the people who have gained the most in the '80s to contribute first. I think he wants to make that very clear.
I think he also wants to reiterate the point that I think was made so clear during the economic conference in Little Rock, that we have two problems. We have a short-term economic problem, which we're still lagging way behind previous recessions in job growth and income growth, and we have a long-term structural problem, which is a quadrupling of debt in the previous two administrations, and a failure to invest in things that will create jobs and economic competitiveness over the long run. And I think he wants to continue to remind people that that's what he was elected to do. He'll also talk about health care and whatever else people want to ask him about.
Q That formulation you just gave -- on the economy and people sacrifice -- does that mean that with the exception of those making over $200,000 or thereabouts, that the President is not going to raise any taxes until he has cut government spending as far as he believes it can be cut?
MS. MYERS: I think he's going to start with government, and I think that will be an ongoing process of trying to reorganize government. One of the things he said he was committed to throughout the campaign was reinventing government. And I think that will be an ongoing process throughout his administration. I don't think it will necessarily all be done, but the first place he's going to make cuts is right here in the White House.
Q Are you, or are you not -- going back to his radio address on Saturday and much of what we've seen from and heard from him and members of his staff over the past couple of weeks -- are you or are you not trying to prepare the American people for higher taxes because there is no other way to get the deficit down?
MS. MYERS: We're just trying to prepare the American people for an economic package that is fair and that asks everybody to contribute. Without giving any of the details, I think that the American people the President believes are willing to participate in this, but they want to know, a, that everybody's being asked to contribute and that it's fair, and that the President is going to clean his own house first and start with government and then move on to the people who gained the most in the 1980's and paid the least amount of taxes.
Q Can we assume that after the 17th that he will go around the country then selling this program, whatever it is?
MS. MYERS: I think that he will sell it. We haven't completely finalized plans beyond the 17th yet, but I think that he'll continue to reach out to the American people directly and that may include some travel.
Q Dee Dee, George Stephanopoulos this morning suggested that the talk of an elimination of the COLA for Social Security recipients is now highly unlikely, that that's basically off the table. Is there anything you want to add to that? I mean, has that been eliminated now because of the uproar that that trial balloon generated?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think it's unlikely. I don't know how likely it ever was.
Q Well, at one point you guys were saying that everything was on the table, nothing has been ruled in and nothing has been ruled out. That has now been ruled out?
MS. MYERS: I think it's unlikely. I think everything was on the table and I think that when the President sat down to reformulate the economic plan he wanted to look at everything. And I think he's done that and is in the process of continuing to do that.'
Q Let me just follow up on that point. Does that mean that Social Security recipients now don't have to worry about their making any sacrifices?
MS. MYERS: I think everybody will contribute in one way or another to this, but I think it's unlikely that Social Security COLAs will be frozen.
Q So that was always a false speculation?
MS. MYERS: No, all I said was I don't know how likely it ever was.
Q Is a gas tax, by itself, also in the category of highly unlikely regardless of how it might be balanced by other taxes?
MS. MYERS: Well, I don't want to get into going through every proposal and rule them either likely or unlikely.
Q Just take that one.
MS. MYERS: I don't want to say what the prospects of that and you shouldn't take that to mean it's likely or unlikely. I just can't comment on it -- leaving you completely in the dark.
Q Is the Social Security COLA automatic, or is there an inflation threshold that figures that? Is that something that -- assuming -- isn't that -- has to be in excess of three percent inflation or something like that?
MS. MYERS: Right. It's tied to inflation.
Q And aren't we below the inflation threshold? So isn't this something that he has to declare? I mean, this is not a matter of them automatically getting a COLA. He's got to declare --I don't know - - it's below the inflation threshold, so he has to extend it rather than --
MS. MYERS: No. I don't know how the formula works in terms of how it's triggered.
Q Can somebody help me on that?
MS. MYERS: I can get back to you. I'll take that question.
Q Dee Dee, is the report correct that the administration's already compiling a list of possible successors to Judge Sessions? And if so, doesn't that signal that a decision in principle has been made?
MS. MYERS: The President and the White House Counsel are still reviewing the Justice Department report and Judge Sessions' response. So no decision's been made on that yet.
Q What about the report that a list of possible successors is being looked at?
MS. MYERS: I can't confirm that.
Q Can you deny it?
Q Has he asked to talk to the President yet?
MS. MYERS: No. Not formally that I know of. And he's made it clear through public forums that he'd like to talk to the President, but I don't believe he's made a specific request.
Q Why can't he do that?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe he's made a specific request -- other than on television to say that he's going to request --
Q Has he talked to anybody else here -- the Counsel's office?
MS. MYERS: Not that I know of.
Q Wife back in --
MS. MYERS: Not that I know of.
Q Dee Dee, you've had some -- a lot of bad publicity over the past couple of weeks. And now we see that Carville and Begala are back. We've seen Paul Begala all over the place lately. Do you have a perception problem? Do you think that the administration is not getting its story well told?
MS. MYERS: I think that last week the American people saw a President who was out there working on health care, working on welfare reform, working to create jobs, working for political reform. And I believe that's the impression that they took away.
Q The only thing people seem to be talking about this weekend was Kimba after this week --
MS. MYERS: Well, people here in Washington seem to be talking about it. I don't believe that people in the rest of the country are paying much attention to Kimba Wood. I don't think that that's an issue that's high on their radar screen.
Q Has Begala been hired back, and Carville? Are they being paid by the White House?
MS. MYERS: I'm not sure what their compensation arrangements are, but James and Paul will continue to provide political advice and other advice to the President. As you know, they are consultants to the Democratic National Committee. I believe Paul will be here for the next couple of weeks, but I don't know in what -- what exactly his compensation arrangement is.
Q Is that an SOS?
MS. MYERS: No, it's always -- I think Paul Begala and James Carville, particularly Paul, are people that you're going to see around here all the time. They were instrumental in the campaign; they're highly regarded by the President and the rest of the staff; and I think they have a real contribution to make.
Q Whose office are they working out of?
MS. MYERS: Again, I don't know exactly how it's structured.
Q Three questions. Did you all every release the Council's position of the health task force meeting?
MS. MYERS: No, it's available today though.
Q Is there any television -- live television of Vice President Gore's town meeting?
MS. MYERS: Yes, that will be carried live. I don't know if they have -- if they're doing the same thing in terms of hooking up with other affiliates. I expect they are, but I think they're doing all of California.
Q Do you know what time that is, Eastern time?
MS. MYERS: No, he's flying from here to there. I think it's in the evening Pacific time.
Q Is Eller doing the arrangements for that?
MS. MYERS: He probably is.
Q And what's the President doing on the economy today on the economic plan?
MS. MYERS: There's a meeting at 2:30 p.m.
Q You say there is a photo op?
MS. MYERS: There is a photo op.
Q Is there any announcement in that?
MS. MYERS: There may be.
Q What kind of an announcement?
MS. MYERS: You'll have to wait but I may have more on it later.
Q When and where is Gore's town meeting?
MS. MYERS: Gore's town meeting is Wednesday in Ontario, California.
Q You may have an announcement at this photo op, but --
MS. MYERS: Yes, at some -- we're not going to do the entire economic plan, but there may be some economic announcement. I don't mean to be obtuse. As soon as we have more I will let you know.
Q You said there will be an announcement on the sunshine law for the health today?
MS. MYERS: The Council responded to a letter that it received from Congress on the Health Care Task Force and that letter has -- pardon me?
Q What do they say?
MS. MYERS: They said that --I don't have the letter with me so I --
Q Is it available in here?
MS. MYERS: It will be -- they don't have it right now.
Q Does it mean that the meeting should be open?
MS. MYERS: No, in fact, Council's opinion is that the FACA was not intended to apply to circumstances like this. The purpose of FACA, as I understand it, is to sort of regulate the kind of advise the President gets.
Q What is FACA?
MS. MYERS: FACA is the Federal Advisory Committee Act. It's a sunshine type law.
Q Does the President have a full schedule here on Wednesday before his departing for his town meeting.
MS. MYERS: He will. He'll be busy here in the morning and he'll leave mid afternoon, late afternoon.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
MS. MYERS: Thank you.
END10:00 A.M. EST