View Header


                         THE WHITE HOUSE
                  Office of the Press Secretary
                      (Everett, Washington)
For Immediate Release                        February 22, 1993

                     REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                      AT PRESS AVAILABILITY

                       Everett, Washington

3:57 P.M. PST

THE PRESIDENT: I would like to thank Frank Shrontz and the good people at Boeing for hosting representatives of the major airline companies in the United States. as well as manufacturers of airplanes and airplane engines, along with the Secretary of Transportation and the Speaker of the House and the distinguished members of the Washington congressional delegation, along with the governor of this state.

We have had a very good meeting about the problems of the manufacturers of airlines and the airline companies themselves, airplanes and airline companies. We talked a lot about the proposal now in the Congress which is soon to be passed, to create a national commission to ensure a strong, competitive airline industry. That commission will require five appointments from the House, five appointments from the Senate and five appointments from the President.

I assured the representatives here, as did the Speaker, that we had no desire other than to find the 15 best people in America immediately to work on this issue without regard to party or region. We just want to work together to appoint people and who will come back within 90 days and give us some concrete suggestions to revitalize this very important part of our economic future.

I thought it was a terrific meeting. We went around the table. Everyone who was at the meeting made a very constructive set of comments about what they thought we ought to do. And I look forward to the legislation passing, the signing it and to immediately making the appointments and to going to work.

Q What do you think, Mr. President, that will mean for the worker who is laid off here? What will be the direct --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, if we do a good job, we'll be able to find more business and bring some of them back to work. That's what we want to do. I'd like to ask the Speaker and the Secretary and Mr. Shrontz and anybody else who is here who wants to make a comment to make some comments, and then we'll answer a couple of more questions.

SPEAKER FOLEY: Mr. President, my only comment would be that I think this was a better meeting and a more informational one than any congressional hearing I've attended, because the leaders of the industry were here, the largest users of aircraft and a variety of different industries, as well as the principal aircraft manufacturers. And they had a chance to tell you, and in our presence to hear what they thought were the critical problems facing the industry and where the future solutions might lie. And I think it was an extremely useful and valuable meeting for all who attended.

SECRETARY PENA: I think one key here that we talked about is the need for all of us to work together. It's going to require that we set aside our parochial interest, look to the national interest, and that will be part of the philosophy as we

pick the 15 members to serve on the commission. And I think that all of the CEOs here agree with that general approach. So I think it was a very productive, constructive meeting and I look forward to working with all the members who are here today.

MR. SHRONTZ: I think from the manufacturing and the airline side, I can represent the uniform agreement on the importance of this commission. I think we're delighted that it is relatively short-fused. We think we can come up with some answers in a 90-day period, and we're very impressed with the relatively small commission, so we can get some major inputs into it. I think that was an extremely constructive suggestion to the Secretary, and we're very supportive of that.

Q Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: If you guys would talk, I wouldn't have to answer so many questions. (Laughter.)

Q Mr. President, are we going to air drop supplies into the besieged people in Bosnia?

THE PRESIDENT: It's a possibility. I want to wait a couple of more days before I announce a policy on it.

Q Mr. President, you said in your speech that you wanted spending cuts first and then invest in programs you call investments. Given that your close people have said you're going to pass an authorization for short-term stimulus spending and that the rest of the package has come down the line, and given that most of the spending comes in the early years, and the taxes would come in the out-years, in what sense do you want the spending cuts first?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I want an omnibus program passed, which has all the spending cuts mandated, along with the tax increases. I don't want to raise taxes and then sit around waiting to see whether the spending cuts are going to be enacted. I think that we ought to pass a package which includes the spending cuts at the same time we raise revenues.

Q Will you still be -- to do your new spending first?

Q the Airbus?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I -- you may know that last year our government signed an agreement which had the support of the airline industry, which got a commitment out of Europe to dramatically reduce the subsidies to Airbus. What I seek to do, number one, is to review it as to its adequacy; and, number two, to make sure it's enforced. But I think we made a huge mistake permitting it to happen with no response. And I hope that it's not too late to have an appropriate response to maintain our position in this global marketplace.

Q Do you think you need a tougher trade policy, in general, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT: No, not necessarily. I think we need a different trade policy. Our -- let me say that the linchpin of our policy still must be to expand trade. A wealthy country cannot grow wealthier by hunkering down within its own borders. We have to be a great trading nation, and we have to help other nations to grow wealthier in order for them to buy more of our products.

So our goal still has to be to expand trade. But we no longer have the luxury, with other nations having grown so much more rapidly than we for 20 years, other nations being about as wealthy as we are -- we no longer have the luxury of being the only country in the world that can ignore certain problems in terms of trade fairness that other countries don't ignore. We have to make sure that we are treated in these market opening measures with the requisite amount of fairness. And so I think

we may have a firmer trade policy in some respects than we've had in the past, but our allies will be under no illusions. I do not want a protectionist trade policy, I want to expand trade. But I want to do it in ways that preserves America as a high wage country. Otherwise, we won't be very good trading partners for a lot of these nations over the long run.

Thank you very much.

END 4:03 P.M. PST