THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS The Briefing Room
12:15 P.M. EST
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning the President declared emergencies for snow removal in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Connecticut and Maryland. They've been declared in four other states, as you know -- Tennessee, Alabama, Maine and Georgia. We're also considering a request from Pennsylvania.
There is also the likelihood that we're going to get disaster declarations from North Carolina, Tennessee, and New Jersey. But the President hasn't yet acted on them.
Q George, did the President tell the Republican leadership that he interested in revisiting the defense budget?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the President said that we have to, of course, if situations change around the world, we have to take that into account. But at this time he'd like to move forward with the defense budget as proposed. I believe it's Secretary Aspin will be testifying before Senator Nunn's committee tomorrow on the defense budget.
Q I understand that was cancelled as well. That's a follow-up question: do you know why those hearings were cancelled?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I believe the Secretary simply couldn't prepare because he couldn't have his team come in over the weekend because of the snow. But I believe he will be testifying before Senator Nunn's committee tomorrow.
Q George, could you tell us if Secretary Bentsen's request for $45 billion for the S&L bailout, since $34 billion was sought as part of the budget request in February after the joint session of Congress -- this additional $11 billion, how is that going to affect your overall budget deficit reduction?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We hope and believe that we will not be forced to spend the extra $11 billion. We just want to make sure that we have plenty of cushion to cover any conceivable S&L costs, S&L cleanup costs. We still contemplate and we have set aside $34 billion in the budget for the cost of the S&L bailout and we hope and believe that will be enough.
Q Mitterrand proposed this morning that the G-7 meeting take place just after the Vancouver summit between Clinton and Yeltsin. What is your comment on that? Were you aware of such a proposal? Was it discussed last week?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't know that it was discussed last week. As you know, the President has been very supportive of the G-7 process with regards to Russia. We had a good meeting in Hong Kong over the weekend and we hope that the process is speeded up. I don't know that we necessarily will be able to meet that quickly, and we're in preparation now for the summit with President Yeltsin.
Q But Mitterrand alleged he had the backing of President Clinton for his proposal. Is it something possible?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I think what President Clinton supports is speeding up the G-7 process with regard to Russia, and we're exploring a number of options in that area. I don't know that there's been a decision on the specific suggestion.
Q Would you rule out such a follow-up to the Vancouver summit?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I wouldn't necessarily rule it out. I would say it's under discussion. We hope to speed up the process as much as we can, and hope that the G-7 can address the question of Russia very soon.
Q So it was not discussed this week or last week during the meeting?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm not positive of that. I would have to check to see if it was discussed in any manner in his meeting with President Mitterrand.
Q George, some of the Republican lawmakers who came out of that meeting said that the President's stimulus package is loaded down with what they called pork barrel baloney. And they listed several examples -- fish cataloging, parking garages --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Child immunization.
Q Well, job creation was their point. Would the President be willing to look -- take a look again at the stimulus package and eliminate some of those that could be categorized perhaps as pork barrel?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President believes the stimulus package is needed now and the investment it's called for are needed and should be passed as quickly as possible by the Congress, and we hope it will be.
Q But would he be willing to take a look at the details of the stimulus package and eliminate those that do not necessarily create jobs?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We believe we have a good package that calls for the investments that are needed now. And one of the programs the leaders cited as they complained about the package was child immunization. We believe child immunization is an important investment in our future, and an important investment in the health of our nation's children. We're going to continue to fight for the stimulus package.
Q Does the President stand by every item in that stimulus package?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President would like the package passed now.
Q As is? Every item as is in that package?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, if the Congress sees fit to change one or two items, that's something we'd take a look at. But right now he would like prompt consideration and have it passed.
Q Is he willing to change the rule?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I think the President told the Republicans that if they were willing to give him a four-year appointment -- permanent appointment over every bill as parliamentarian, he would be willing to look at it. But he generally will not get involved in rules rights in the House.
Q Wasn't he aware that such things as this fish cataloging for the chub fish or whatever it is -- was he aware that that's in there and doesn't that strike him as something that perhaps is expendable?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it's something -- obviously, we'll take a look at their letter. But the President believes that we have a good package, that we have a package that must be passed. And he would like prompt consideration.
Q Their point about the immunization was that it's not jobs creating. They're not saying that immunization isn't a worthwhile thing, but does it belong in a stimulus package?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It does belong in a stimulus package. It's an important investment and it will -- although obviously, it's primary purpose is not job creation, is an important investment in the health of our children and it is followed on by the larger investment package that the President is calling for.
Q Why not put it into the budget instead of --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Because it's investments that are needed this summer to have a summer immunization program for the children who need shots.
Q What about, George, the business of these projects to refurbish a pool and a gym and a parking garage? Were these plans that mayors came to the White House with that you simply signed off on, or did you go and investigate these specific renovation projects to create jobs?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Some of the specific projects may have been projects that were put in in the Appropriations Committee, and that's clearly something we'll look at. I do not have every single project in front of me at this podium. But the President believes that, generally, the investments are sound and that the package should be passed.
Q Well, does he think the program -- that the overall program is jeopardized by having these kinds of things attached to it?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President believes that the stimulus package has support in the Congress. As the University of Michigan study pointed out this morning, it is an important insurance policy for the creation of jobs and an important component of the overall investment in deficit reduction package. And he believes the House and the Senate should act quickly.
Q So it doesn't concern you to have these kinds of --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, obviously, we'll look at any suggestions we have for the package. But the important thing is to get the package through right now.
Q George, you're not disputing any of the facts itemized in the letter then?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, I can't say that. I have not -- we have not had a full review of the letter yet. We will look at it and see what their contentions are.
Q Do you know if those specific projects came from the White House or whether they came from the Appropriations Committee?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm not sure if the line-by-line. As I said, we're reviewing it this morning.
Q A Haiti question.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Any more -- let's just finish up if there are any more on stimulus.
Q This same group of lawmakers led us to believe that the President, on his own, suggested that he would revisit his defense cuts, that they might be too large. Is that an incorrect perception on their part?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I think what the President said, if circumstances change, obviously, we have to take that into account. But at this time, he would like his defense budget considered by the Congress.
Q suggest that he's more willing to look at these numbers again? It seems like there's more -- they're negotiable.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, I don't think that's the case.
Q Does the President support Aristide's call for the U.N. to set a date certain for the return of democracy to Haiti?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President believes he must move as quickly as possible for the return of democracy to Haiti, for the return of President Aristide to Haiti. And that's why he's meeting with President Aristide today. We must make sure that we do that in a secure environment.
Q Will he support a specific date?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, the President thinks that we should do this as quickly as possible.
Q So the answer is, no, he does not support a specific date?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President believes we cannot set a date for return unless we're certain of a secure environment.
Q What about the other items mentioned in his piece this morning -- annulling visas for the coup leaders, freezing Haitian assets -- are any of those steps contemplated?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Some visas have already been annulled for several Haitians.
Q There also are people who have financially supported this.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're also looking at -- we're gathering all the evidence we can about Haitian individuals who supported the September 1991 coup, as well as information about their financial assets. I can't rule those actions out. But at this time, we're working on them.
Q What about tightening the embargo and a naval blockade, and stopping oil and other goods from getting into Haiti?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, the President is setting -- is willing to look at the sanctions. He is sending his special assistant Pezzullo down. He and Secretary Christopher are sending the Special Assistant down to meet with the Haitians this week. He will send a very tough message that we expect progress now, and he will also send the message that our patience is running thin, and we expect real progress.
Q What is a tough message without sanctions to back it up?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: There are sanctions in place right now. And clearly, tightening the sanctions is one option. From this podium, to say which sanctions we would lift or tighten at any particular time would not necessarily be helpful. But we are prepared to take further action. And that's the message that Mr. Pezzullo will be taking to Haiti this week.
Q The President has said before that he supported the Caputo mission to Haiti which has recommended a three-month date certain, if you want to call it that, or just a three-month period by which democracy would be restored. But now he's sending his own people down there. Does that mean he has lost confidence in the U.N. effort?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not at all, and we continue to support the U.N. effort led by Mr. Caputo, and we want to make sure he has the tools he needs to get the job done as well. We see the appointment of Mr. Pezzullo as reinforcing to that effort.
Q But he's not willing to endorse Mr. Caputo's suggestion?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: He supports Caputo's mission. He will continue to support Caputo's mission, and we're going to do what we can to strengthen it.
Q Sanctions haven't been very successful, we thought, as in Yugoslavia. So what else have you got up your sleeve, if you have anything?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, right now we're supporting the U.N. mission. We will send our envoy down to try and send a tough message and we will urge all sides to get to the negotiating table and to reach an agreement as quickly as possible. We reserve the right, obviously, to tighten sanctions and take other actions.
Q And you think the strengthening of sanctions could be sufficient to enforce the Haitian rulers to give way?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We certainly hope so, and we're going to do what we can to make sure that Mr. Caputo and Mr. Pezzullo have the tools they need to get the job done.
Q Are there actions that the President feel that Father Aristide ought to be taking to move this process along?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: He will clearly be communicating his thoughts to President Aristide this afternoon, and he wants to make sure that the President understands that he is committed -- he, President Clinton, is committed to helping him with the process of negotiation.
Q What would you like to see Father Aristide do? Or is there anything that he thinks he can be doing to help this --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, I think that I should leave that to their meeting this afternoon, and you can ask them afterwards.
Q To follow on Gwen's question, Caputo's process that he lays out envisions that at the end of three months the conditions will be changed so that Aristide can return to Haiti. Does the President support that three-month, at the end of which there is a date when Father Aristide will return to Haiti, conception?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the President certainly hopes that we can have a resolution as quickly as possible and he's doing everything he can to make sure that we do. But at this time, it would not necessarily be helpful to set a date certain unless we're certain that we have a secure environment.
Q What do you mean by secure environment, and how would you go about bringing that about?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: That's one of the things we're talking to President Aristide today. We've increased the U.N. OAS observer missions. We want to make sure that if President Aristide returns, he has an environment where he is safe and where democracy can flourish.
Q You said we were going to do that at the end of December. Do you have any measure of the progress that those actions that the United States has taken have done toward achieving a secure environment?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We hope we're making progress. We do have an observer mission on the ground now.
Q Do you know if you're making progress?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We are sending Secretary Pezzullo -- excuse me, the special envoy Pezzullo down next week to communicate with the Haitians. Obviously, we do not have a resolution to the Caputo mission yet, but we're going to continue to work on it.
Q Do the supporters of Father Aristide read anything into the fact that yesterday there was a meeting with Prime Minister Rabin that happened at high noon and there was a formal East Room news conference afterward, and the meeting with President Aristide is late in the afternoon today and his -- by the time he leaves it would be a little late for the network newscasts?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It won't be late.
Q Well, George --
Q That's my -- please answer the question. Should they read anything into that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not at all, no.
Q Well, how about the absence of a press conference such as has been had with every other --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, there will be a press availability, and they will give statements.
Q But when Mitterrand was here, when Major was here, with Rabin yesterday, we had a press conference with the President and the foreign leader answering questions. What signal is the President sending by not having --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think any particular signal at all. And they will be open to the press this afternoon. They will be reading public statements. And I'm certain you'll have an opportunity to ask questions.
Q George, I'm not clear on the difference between -- on the questions of a date certain. I thought the Caputo plan was to have an agreement, and then have the three months start running, was it not?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm not sure of that. I'd have to double-check. I believe it is, but I'm not completely positive.
Q If that's the case, you would have in place the agreement that you need. So what is your problem with the threemonth period?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't know that there is necessarily a problem. I think we're confusing two different issues here. This morning President Aristide was talking about setting a date certain for his return. Right now we are in -- we are supporting efforts to secure an environment where that will be possible.
Q What he's saying is that he supports the Caputo plan, which would be for a secure agreement and then three months later his return? Do you have an objection to that?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's a little bit different. I don't know if I want to agree with your characterization of what he's saying this morning. But the important point is that first you get an agreement, first you get a secure environment, and then you can facilitate his return.
Q Do you have any report for us on the progress of your review of the Guantanamo situation?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Nothing yet. We're still reviewing it.
Q George, what is the role of this envoy specifically? Is he just to lay down the law, negotiate a deal, broker a deal? I mean, is he taking something with him to the military government there in Port au Prince?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: He's certainly taking the instructions of the President to do what he can to support Mr. Caputo and to do what he can to get all parties to reach an agreement.
Q But is he taking parts of a deal to present to the government there?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't know that I would necessarily characterize it in that way, but he's clearly going to communicate with the Haitian leaders that we expect their assistance and their help in reaching an agreement.
Q Is the U.S. position that these military leaders should be held accountable for their action, or would we give a nod and a wink to --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't want to get into the substance of the discussions between Mr. Pezzullo and the Haitians. But we are clearly going to be telling all sides that they must do what they can to reach an agreement.
Q George, what are the President's feelings about the situation on Guantanamo? Is he comfortable with the fact that the people are there and the way they're being treated?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Obviously, it's a matter of great concern. We're going to do what we can to make sure they're treated as well as they can be treated on Guantanamo, and to make sure the conditions are secure and safe and healthy. And we're going to continue do to what we can to ensure that.
Q If it's matter of great concern, how come for four weeks you've simply been saying that it's under review?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It is under review, and we're searching for solutions.
Q George, do you have any reaction to Jesse Jackson's protests on this whole Haitian policy? I believe he's been arrested. He's on a hunger strike, protesting the entire thrust of the administration's policy. Any dialogue with him? Any reaction?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We've talked to him. I think he's talked with several people in the White House at various times. Obviously, we're concerned about the situation as well, and the President is continuing to do what he can to restore democracy to Haiti and to ensure that the human rights of all the people in Haiti are protected. So I think in that sense, the President and Mr. Jackson share the same goals. Whether or not they have agreement on every aspect of the policy, I don't know. But, clearly, the President is committed to restoring democracy to Haiti.
Q black America in particular?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: What we're concerned about is making sure we do what we can to restore democracy to Haiti.
Q I'm sure you are. But are you also concerned specifically about how displaced black America -- there have been a number of prominent black politicians and other civic leaders and just ordinary people who see this as a betrayal of what President Clinton promised in the campaign regarding his Haitian policy, and that it may be directly tied and not just coincidental that these are people of color who are being closed out. What does the President --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I certainly reject that contention, but obviously, the President takes any criticisms and advice he receives very seriously. He is committed to doing what he can to restore democracy to Haiti and to save lives. He believes that if we had a different policy on the issue of return at this point, it would cost lives, not save them. And that's why he's doing what he's doing.
Q President Aristide has been very circumspect in not criticizing the President about his reversal on the question of allowing refugees to come to the United States. If he comes out of this meeting this afternoon only having been reassured that the White House, as a concept, supports his restoration as a democraticallyelected leader of Haiti, why should he continue to hold his tongue?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, again, I think that we should leave that to President Aristide. They have not met yet. The two Presidents will be meeting this afternoon and I think that President Clinton will be assuring President Aristide of his strong personal commitment to seeing his return as the democratic-elected leader of Haiti.
Q George, on Guantanamo, Cardinal O'Connor has offered to care for and pay for the care of the HIV-infected Haitians there. Why does that not offer you a solution to the problem of detaining them at Guantanamo?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I've not seen that proposal but we'll certainly take a look at it. At the same time, that will be part of our review.
Q Is sending them back a consideration that is part of your review? Sending them back to Haiti -- is that what you're waiting for, a political solution so you can send them back?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, not necessarily, and I think that we'll deal with the situation before then.
Q Now that we have an envoy to Haiti, how are we doing on an envoy to the Irish situation?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Nothing yet.
Q Will any sort of discussion take place tomorrow in the --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I didn't rule it out that it may be discussed tomorrow, but again, we don't have any definite proposal at this time.
Q Do you have a decision in principle to do it and now you're just trying to work out the details?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not necessarily. I mean, we've had discussions with the English; we intend to have discussions tomorrow with the Irish Prime Minister and we'll continue to look at various options.
Q Are you getting back any sort of response that this would be helpful or not helpful?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I think one of the things -- we're looking at a variety of proposals in this area. One of the possibilities would be some sort of fact-finding mission, but there haven't been any decisions made yet.
Q To clarify from earlier, you said -- the word out of the morning briefing seemed to be that there was no contemplation of a head of state G-7 in advance to Tokyo. Did you just say earlier that under consideration was after the meeting with Yeltsin that there would be a head of state meeting under consideration?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, I think that that's one of the less likely possibilities. And we want to make sure that the G-7 process moves as quickly as possible. That could include a meeting of the finance ministers, it could include a meeting of the foreign ministers.
Q Did you not say earlier that it was still -- one of the things under consideration was heads of state meeting?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I wouldn't necessarily rule it out completely. But I said it's less likely than other possibilities.
Q And my second question on health care -- is the administration's view now that you -- have you dropped plans completely to combine any part of the health care package with the budget reconciliation --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: No, the President remains committed to getting a health care bill through as quickly as possible. As you know, there are procedural difficulties in the Senate with putting the whole health care bill on the reconciliation package. That is something the Senate has to continue to work out. Our position is that we want to make sure we get health care done as quickly as possible.
Q But you're still looking at possibly including some of it within the procedural --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I wouldn't necessarily want to rule it our but as you know the procedural difficulties preclude us from including the bulk of the health care bill in the Senate package.
Q Bob Michel said this morning that the President shouldn't raise expectations with Yeltsin of a big bundle of assistance from the United States and that a bill today -- a big assistance bill today on the floor of the House would not pass. What's your reading of how difficult it's going to be to get increased aid for Russia through Congress?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Actually, I think the President was encouraged this morning by the reaction of the bipartisan leadership to his suggestion that we have to be prepared to take serious action with regard to Russia. There was strong support on both sides of the aisle for making sure we do what we can to make sure that democracy and market economic reforms thrive in Russia.
Q Michel seemed to be suggesting that we're sort of strained to our limit and that the other G-7 nations should do more; that it's not really us, it's them that have been lagging?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, as you know, the President has requested $700 million in this year's budget, but we're going to continue to explore possibilities with the other G-7 nations for coordinated multilateral action.
Q But we're going to spend more as well, right?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, again I don't have a proposal to give you today, but we're discussing a variety of proposals with our allies.
Q What's your reading of the mood in Congress, the receptivity to increased aid for Russia?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: There's no question that there might be some short-term political difficulties with doing what we need to do, consistent with our national responsibilities. But the President believes that this is important for the U.S. in the long run. We spend probably $4 trillion defending this country against past threats, largely from the former Soviet Union. We can certainly invest a few hundred million in promoting reforms that will make us more secure in the future.
Q How much of their meeting was discussing that problem and how much detail did they go -- can you give us some feel for the give-and-take of the meeting?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess the meeting went for about an hour. It was almost entirely foreign policy, I would say, probably 50 minutes. They spoke a little bit. As you know, Minority Leader Michel brought up his concerns about the rule towards the end. But largely, they talked about Haiti, the meeting with Prime Minister Rabin, and then the Russian situation took up the bulk of the meeting.
Q And Michel did not express his concerns to the President about the possibility of Russian aid passing? The kind of concerns he expressed to us outside?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't know if he used those exact words. Obviously, people did raise the possibility that there might be some political difficulty. That didn't deter anyone, for the most part, from saying that this was an important goal that had to be pursued.
Q Did any Republicans speak up in favor of Russian aid?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, I think there was general support from several members in the room. I would say, again, most of the people in the room agreed that pursuing democracy and market reform in Russia was an important goal for the President.
Q George, when you said earlier that we've been talking to the English about this possibility of an envoy to --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we have. This obviously came up, I believe, with Prime Minister Major last week.
Q Has anything happened since then, or has there been any conversation between the President and Prime Minister Major?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think that he's had another conversation with Prime Minister Major, no.
Q Did the members of the leadership express concern about the possibility of entanglements in sending some kind of a multinational force into Haiti? I understand that Barbara Mikulski raised some concerns about this. Did she?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, I don't know the -- I don't want to comment on specific comments to the President in a private meeting, but there was a general discussion of Haiti.
Q And were they concerned?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Again, there was a lot of give-andtake on the issue of Haiti, but I think that they understood what the President was trying to do.
Q George, has the President had any communication with Ross Perot, either directly or through any intermediaries since right before he addressed the Congress?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think the President has spoken to him, no.
Q Have any aides spoken to Perot on behalf of the President?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I suppose it's possible that Mr. Perot has spoken to some presidential aides, but I don't know -- I'm not aware of the conversations.
Q Did Bosnia come up this morning?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not in any detail, no.
Q What's the U.S. position on Cristiani's call for amnesty against the military officers by the Truth Commission?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: We're reviewing the report of the Truth Commission now. We'll continue to review it. As you know, we supported the Truth Commission with our money and assistance of U.S. officials, but we don't have any further comment at this time on its recommendations.
Q George, has the President or any of his top people spoken to or plan to speak to President Mitterrand after his meeting with Yeltsin today?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I expect that there will be some diplomatic contact, but I don't know that the President -- the President certainly hasn't spoken to him yet today.
Q But there will be nothing like the phone call he got from Helmut Kohl that we found out about five days later last week?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: It wasn't a phone call. I think there was a letter from Helmut Kohl.
Q Is there understanding that there will be communication?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Not that I know of, no.
Q What's the timetable for submitting a tax bill?
Q That he looked forward to hearing from him after he met with Yeltsin.
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: And when they talk, we'll let you know. (Laughter.)
Q What is the timetable for submitting a tax bill?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't have the specific timetable. I know Treasury is working on it. I assume it will be consistent with the budget when the budget is submitted.
Q Same time --
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm not sure the exact same day, but same time frame.
Q Since the President has asked Congress, at least during the campaign, for a line-item veto or enhanced decision to cut pork out of the budget, wouldn't he think it would be fair for people on Capitol Hill to be able to vote on the same sort of thing? Wouldn't he support the Republican request for a vote on these pork items out of a sense of fairness since he wants the same ability?
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: The President is not going to get involved in rules disputes in the House.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 12:43 P.M. EST