THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY DEE DEE MYERS
The Briefing Room
2:00 P.M. EST
MS. MYERS: All right. I don't have any statements, so if you have any questions.
Q Dee Dee, on Haiti, is the United States pressuring Aristide and Malval to enlarge the government? What's going on behind the scenes?
MS. MYERS: There was a meeting earlier today with -- it was a discussion among representatives from the government in Haiti, the Four Friends, and Caputo, and a number of things were discussed. The focus of the meeting was ways to put the Governors Island Accord back on track. Among the things that was discussed was expanding the cabinet. But that was the extent of it. I don't think any conclusions --
MS. MYERS: Why?
MS. MYERS: I think what we're trying to do is get the Governors Island Accord back on track, working with the government of Haiti and the other friends, the three other friends there in order to make that process work.
Q Why do you want to expand it, I mean?
Q Three other friends?
MS. MYERS: Canada, France and Venezuela.
Q On NAFTA, what is the President's feeling about Newt Gingrich saying that his efforts were pathetic?
Q Newt Gingrich saying that the President's efforts were pathetic. Doesn't that make it more difficult for him to work with this bipartisan coalition to try to get the votes that he needs?
MS. MYERS: We just simply -- the President just disagrees on that front. The President, as you know, has been working very hard on NAFTA. The opponents got off to a head start because we had to negotiate the side agreements on the environment, on labor and on surges. That took a while. During that time I think the opponents of NAFTA got a head start. But I think we've made very good progress since then. The President feels things are going quite well, that there's -- a lot of members support it. Whether or not they'll vote for it is what we're working on, but a lot of people support it.
Q Have you come up with a new way of financing it now that the Ways and Means Committee and others have criticized the customs inspection fees -- taxes?
MS. MYERS: I think that's something that we're working on. The President said yesterday that we put forward a proposal. I think Leon is on the Hill today talking to a number of people about that. We are certainly open to any other suggestions.
I think it's important to point out two things; one, that NAFTA will actually reduce tariffs by $2.5 billion to $2.4 billion. That is a tax reduction. The 1990 Budget Act requires that that money be replaced in one of two ways: either by an additional revenue increase or by cutting spending. We looked at a number of options, recommended one. If other people have better ideas, let them come forward and say so.
Q Dee Dee, can we get back to Haiti?
Q You can't find the spending cuts?
MS. MYERS: Well, we're open to that suggestion.
Q I have one question, just -- a new CBS news poll out today shows that there is a substantial drop in the President's overall approval rating and that 61 percent of those polled are uneasy about his approach to dealing with a foreign crisis. Do you have any comment on that?
MS. MYERS: Polls will go up and down. I think that's a fact of life. Circumstances lately have been difficult. The President's dealing with it effectively, and I think you'll see the results of that the next time you take a poll. It's a snapshot of a point in time. I think the President fully expects that move around over the course of the next three and a half years.
Q Aristides aides say you're trying to ram a deal down his throat that would allow the existing military police authorities, in effect, to stay in control.
MS. MYERS: It's just not true. What we did was had a --
Q Well, who would you expand the cabinet to include?
MS. MYERS: Other democratic elements. I mean, I think who it would not include is the nondemocratic elements, including Francois and others.
Q What about old Cedras?
MS. MYERS: No, excluding Cedras as well.
Q Are you talking about persons or the group they represent?
MS. MYERS: Talking about the persons, because the Governors Island -- trying to get the Governors Island Accord on track. We're having a discussion with the Haitian government, Malval and others -- the Haitian government was represented at these talks. This is something we're discussing with them about ways to get the Governors Island Accord back on track.
One of the things that was discussed was expanding the cabinet to include some of the other democratic forces. I don't have any specific details about names that might have come up.
Q Who raised the issue?
Q Dee Dee, the issue of expanding the cabinet as the deal is being described, is that Malval and Cedras would leave if their forces could have five cabinet departments that, in fact, takes over the whole security and military apparatus of that country. Now, is that a deal that the administration could support?
MS. MYERS: We are not in the process of making a deal. We're working with the Haitian government there on the ground. This is a decision for them to make. We're looking at ways to get the Governors Island agreement back on track. One of the things that was discussed was expanding the cabinet to include other democratic forces. The Governors Island Accord calls for a couple of things that have yet to happen: Cedras is to resign and is not to play a role in this. The parliament is to split the military and the police force. That has yet to happen. So those things have to happen that would effectively move Francois out of power in Haiti. What we are doing is working with the Haitian government to, a, get the Governors Island Accord back on track and, b, to help restore democracy to that country working with them.
Q Would we consider the Governors Island Accord to be on track if supporters of Cedras controlled three to five of the major cabinet departments that had to do with security, police, justice, information?
MS. MYERS: We are not talking about expanding it to include nondemocratic forces, those who have been a party to the violence and other problems down there.
Q Why are you talking about it at all?
Q Aristide supporters in the cabinet?
MS. MYERS: Why are we talking --
Q What business is it of the United States?
MS. MYERS: Because we are down there working with the Haitians to get this Governors Island Accord back on track and to restore democracy and an effective government to that country.
Q Did the accord require an expansion of the cabinet -- did it require it?
Q But that's outside the agreement.
MS. MYERS: We're looking at ways to get that agreement back on track.
Q Who suggested expanding the cabinet and how would it help since the Aristide people absolutely categorically reject it?
MS. MYERS: Excuse me, I would just point out that representatives of the Haitian government were at the meeting.
Q Well, did they reject it, or not?
MS. MYERS: I don't know if any conclusions were reached there.
Q Well, how is it that the United States is in the business of micromanaging the contents or even negotiating over the contents of the Haitian cabinet?
MS. MYERS: We're not negotiating. We're not negotiating. It's simply something that came up.
Q All right, then, why are we involved in discussions about the composition of the Haitian cabinet?
Q Who brought it up?
MS. MYERS: Because we're looking at ways to work with the forces in Haiti to get the Governors Island Accord back on track, to discuss ways to further the reimposition of democracy.
Q What is this, a sort of a meeting that constitutes a suggestion box? I mean, what is the deal here?
MS. MYERS: I think it's a meeting that constitutes reviewing options in ways to get that process back on track.
Q Whose options?
MS. MYERS: Well, certainly the four countries who have been actively working in Haiti, the Haitian government, and Dante Caputo.
Q You don't mean the opposition forces, do you, who proposed it?
MS. MYERS: The Haitian government, which is Aristide's government, Malval, et cetera, the Haitian government.
Q Did the opposition forces ask for more cabinet posts?
MS. MYERS: I don't know.
Q Why ask for new more cabinet posts?
Q Can we get a couple of facts? Where was this meeting and who represented the United States -- the Ambassador?
MS. MYERS: Bill Swing.
Q Was that yesterday or today?
MS. MYERS: It was today.
Q Was there another meeting yesterday in which a four-page draft communique was presented --
MS. MYERS: I don't know the answer to that.
Q to Malval and asked him --
MS. MYERS: Don says the first meeting was yesterday. There was another meeting today?
MR. STEINBERG: There have been discussions today.
MS. MYERS: There have been discussions today.
Q With Malval?
Q Is Malval representing -- is he the key figure there for the Haitians, I presume?
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q Where was the meeting?
Q In his basement or somewhere?
MS. MYERS: I don't know.
Q Don, do you know where the meeting was?
MR. STEINBERG: I assume it was in Port-au-Prince.
Q Let's don't do no assuming.
MS. MYERS: I will certainly take that question. We can post it. That's easy to find out.
Q Should the U.S. be advising -- or the U.N. or the friends, the Group of Four, whatever they are, be advising the democratically-elected president of Haiti who should be members of his cabinet?
MS. MYERS: I think we've worked with them on a number of issues as we tried to help them restore democracy in that country. We're intimately involved in developing the Governors Island Accord. We worked with them on a number of issues. The primary focus of today's meeting was ways to get the Governors Island Accord back on track. I think if the government is there and is interested in discussing this, then --
Q Dee Dee, isn't it obvious that unless these steps were not designed to win over some of the hardliners who were resisting the return of Aristide, that it couldn't possibly make any difference?
MS. MYERS: No, because if the Governors Island Accord is back on track it will include things like the resignation of Cedras, the splitting of the military and the police force, which means Francois is out --
Q Why would Cedras or anyone else who is standing in the way of the return to democracy be any happier with a larger cabinet composed of Aristide type democrats than with a smaller one?
MS. MYERS: I think there are other forces there that are -- other individuals there who are not Cedras and not Francois. And it would also rule out Duvalierists, I might point out.
Q I know, but what effect are they having on anything?
MS. MYERS: What we're trying to do is help that country get itself back on track.
Q We all understand that. Nobody is disagreeing with that, Dee Dee. But what we're trying to understand is how this process can help, why it would make a difference. We know that Cedras and people of his stripe are standing in the way. You're talking about having more Aristide types or democrats in a larger cabinet. How would that overcome the problem which so far as we can tell is Cedras and members of the old guard not wanting to leave?
MS. MYERS: I'm not sure that there -- we're taking a number of steps to convince Cedras and others to leave which have nothing to do with that, which includes the imposition of sanctions both through the U.N. and unilaterally through the U.S. We fully expect those to have an impact. I think what we're trying to do is help Haiti make the transition as efficiently as possible.
Q What does the larger cabinet get you?
MS. MYERS: I will have to get back to you on that. I am not prepared to answer that.
Q And could I ask a follow-up to that? If Cedras and Francois are removed, this seemed to suggest that you think there is some other problem that is waiting in the wings that would block Aristide from coming to power.
MS. MYERS: No, I don't mean to suggest that. Those are two major stumbling blocks at this point to getting the Governors Island Accord back on track. I think that what we're trying to do is help the country make the transition to democracy as efficiently as possible, and looking at a number of ways to help them to do that. That has always been our objective.
Q Who are they a stumbling block too? If the Aristide forces do not want to expand the cabinet, I mean, who --
MS. MYERS: No, I meant Cedras and Francois, which was what that question was.
Q But obviously somebody has suggested this as a way, as a solution.
MS. MYERS: I don't know if they suggested it as a solution. It was something that was discussed today, among other things, about getting this process back on track and about moving forward.
Q Who brought it up?
Q Who brought the issue this morning?
MS. MYERS: I don't know who brought it up. I do not know who suggested it.
Q Aristide's people say that the United States is suggesting this as an option. Now, are they or aren't they? Are you prepared to deny that?
MS. MYERS: I don't know who's suggesting it as an option. I know it was discussed at the meeting today, and representatives of Aristide's government were there.
Q Dee Dee, are there supporters of Cedras and Francois who you would consider democratic groups or who could possibly become pro-democratic groups?
MS. MYERS: I don't know the answer to that.
Q So, in other words, are you trying to split the support for the military rulers and get some of them over to the prodemocratic side? Is that the goal of expanding the cabinet?
MS. MYERS: No -- first of all, I don't know that we have a goal of expanding the cabinet. I'm going to take the question as to whether or not that was something we suggested. I don't know the answer to that.
Q Is it the position of the administration that the only way to get the Governors Island back on track is to enlarge his government, even against Aristide's wishes?
MS. MYERS: No. I think we're exploring a number of ways to get the Governors Island back on track.
Q What would be the options?
Q Can you name one other way?
MS. MYERS: The conversations are ongoing and I'm not going to discuss all of it.
Q Is there a view within this government that the cabinet is not widely representative enough in terms of business community and other interests?
Q In other words, it's not a cabinet that looks like Haiti. (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: I took the question as to whether it was our suggestion. I don't know that we have a view on this.
Q Dee Dee, is Haiti a special case because of immigration or other reasons, or are we prepared to use economic, political and military means to enforce democratic outcomes in other countries in this hemisphere.
MS. MYERS: Well, I think Haiti certainly is a special case in that it's -- well, not a special case, but it is a specific case in that it is in the hemisphere, it is in our backyard. And certainly the immigration problem is one of the concerns the President has cited repeatedly as to why we're taking -- have been concerned about the situation there.
Q Even in the previous administration when they obviously were trying to set up the democratically-elected leaders in Panama, they installed them before they took over. But they professed not to have that be the sole reason. They said they were going in to arrest Noriega. They didn't state that as the reason for the invasion. Is this to be an extension of that in this hemisphere, as you said, is this to be the new -- the Clinton policy, so to speak?
MS. MYERS: I'm not sure I understand the connection.
Q Are you prepared to enforce other democratic outcomes that are thwarted by --
MS. MYERS: I think -- certainly enlargement of democracies is a goal that both the President and other national security advisers have discussed. That is certainly one of the foreign policy objectives of this administration. But I'm not prepared -- I think it's something that we'll evaluate on a case-bycase basis. In the case of Haiti, it meets those criteria. Certainly it's in our backyard. There are Americans there. And we have a serious -- immigration will have a serious impact on this country. Those are among the concerns that have driven us to take action there.
Q Dee Dee, could you tell us whether there were any people who are affiliated in any way with Cedras or Francois who were present at this meeting?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe so, but I'll take it. I think almost certainly not.
Q Are there -- is there a faction in Haiti which is considered by this administration to be pro-democratic, but which also may be seen as a threat to the Governors Island agreement? I mean, is there a swing group here, people that you would consider to be pro-democratic but who would stand in the way of this agreement?
MS. MYERS: Again, I think that falls under the heading of whether we had a proposal in this. And I'm taking that question.
Q No, no, no. It falls under the heading of what is the point of expanding the cabinet if it's not going to appease --
MS. MYERS: That's all within the same question which I'm taking.
Q Right. But I would like to also know whether it's not just to appease Cedras and Francois but also any other factions.
MS. MYERS: It's not to appease Cedras and Francois at all.
Q Okay, then who is it --
Q Well, don't you have to?
Q That's what you want. That's what they asked for, the government to be --
MS. MYERS: I don't know what they asked for. I can tell you right now that the nondemocratic forces will not play a role in the Haiti government and that we expect Cedras to live up to the agreement that he signed.
Q Dee Dee, who decides what's a democratic force and what's a non-democratic force? That would seem to be -- certainly there could be some gray areas in Haiti on that.
MS. MYERS: I think that is something that the Haitians will have to work out for themselves. But if they ask us for our participation, we're happy to help.
Q Who would it appease?
Q The only elements were ruled out or persons as you said, not groups or parties --
MS. MYERS: No, no --
Q people like Cedras or Francois --
MS. MYERS: Non-democratic forces, non-democratic groups, those affiliated with Cedras and Francois and the Duvalierists are not included in this. I don't know how many times I can say that. The non-democratic forces will not be represented in this expansion should the Haitians decide to go forward with it.
Q If the point then is to try to go back to the --get the Governors Island agreement on track, which has been abrogated, we assume, by Cedras and Francois, but yet you're not talking to them or making any attempts to appease them, why do you believe that they would possibly move this forward?
MS. MYERS: No, I said I didn't think they were at the meeting today, and that's all I said.
Q You also said there's no effort being made to appease them.
MS. MYERS: That's correct.
Q What will change then as a result of these talks, if these people are still -- the non-democratic forces hasn't been talked to.
MS. MYERS: There was meeting today; I've taken a question as to what our position was at that meeting. I'll have to get back to you.
Q Can I ask an Oakley question? Could you please give me a sense of what the White House position is on the investigation involving Ambassador Oakley, what you know about it, when you knew it, and what you're doing about it?
MS. MYERS: I think Ambassador Oakley found out last week. The President was informed last week. The Inspector General at the State Department is looking into it. And it would be inappropriate for us to say anything else about the investigation. As per Ambassador Oakley, the President's been more --
Q State said they started in August.
MS. MYERS: Yes, but Ambassador Oakley was not informed about it. The President has been more than satisfied with Ambassador Oakley's performance. We expect him to continue to play a role. And the President believes he's done good work and hopes he'll continue.
Q Does this probe have anything to do with why he didn't come over here to see the President?
MS. MYERS: No. Ambassador Oakley debriefed the Secretary of State, the National Security Adviser -- I'm not sure if Secretary Aspin was there as well -- also General Shali. Then they reported on that to President Clinton. I think it's entirely possible that Ambassador Oakley will be here sometime soon.
Q Why didn't the President know that there was an investigation before he went ahead and appointed Ambassador Oakley to this new very high profile position? How could it be that State would be investigating him and not somehow let the White House know?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think things happen very quickly. As you know, the President asked Ambassador Oakley, who did not know there was an Inspector General investigation underway, to go --
Q At the recommendation of Warren Christopher?
Q I'm not faulting him, I'm saying the State Department knew that it --
MS. MYERS: But again, I would just point out that Ambassador Oakley was asked by the President to go back to Somalia on Wednesday and he left on Thursday. I think things happened very quickly and I'm not sure who at the State -- I'd have to refer you to the State Department as to what they knew and when they knew it. I don't know the answer to that. The White House did not know.
Q Is the White House at all concerned that the State Department did not let the White House know sooner about this ongoing investigation?
MS. MYERS: No. Again, I would refer you to them as to what they knew and when they knew it. I don't know the answer to that.
Q If the White House did know, would it have changed the President's decision to appoint --
MS. MYERS: Hypothetical.
Q But interesting. (Laughter.)
Q The President didn't just appoint Ambassador Oakley, he didn't just make this decision. I presume there was some recommendation from the State Department.
MS. MYERS: I'm sure there were conversations about it, but again, I don't know what the State Department knew and you'd have to talk to them.
Q My question is not about the investigation. My question is, the President didn't say the guy for this job is Bob Oakley without hearing something from the State Department.
MS. MYERS: As you know, Tuesday and Wednesday before that Thursday there were a number of discussions. The Secretary of State was here for a series of meetings Tuesday night and Wednesday during the day. I assume that they talked about that as they talked through the policy. But again, I don't know what the Secretary might have known.
Q My question is who recommended Oakley for this job? How did Oakley get this job?
MS. MYERS: I don't know who exactly recommended him. I would imagine it came up in the context of those conversations as they laid out what the policy would be. And the President then gave the speech on Thursday.
Q Wasn't he the Bush administration's envoy before?
MS. MYERS: Yes, he was there until March. He was there during the early days of the Clinton administration.
Q Isn't that obviously why he was the guy that was chosen, because he's done it before?
MS. MYERS: Actually, he'd been the Ambassador to Somalia. He'd been the Bush administration's special envoy. He was there in the first few months of the Clinton administration.
Q So it was kind of a no-brainer that he would be the guy to do it, right?
MS. MYERS: He was the obvious candidate.
Q Does the President believe in the lifetime ban on lobbying as it's now written in the law, or does he think the law should be changed?
MS. MYERS: No, the President believes that there ought to be very strict ethics laws and very strict controls on lobbying. And as you know, we added additional restrictions --
Q Does he agree with the lifetime ban on --
MS. MYERS: Yes. And my point is that when we came -- when the President came here, I think he made a point of saying how seriously he took ethics considerations, and we added some of our own ethics laws.
Q Dee Dee, has the administration settled on a 75 cent increase in the tobacco tax to finance the health care reform plan?
MS. MYERS: The final details of the legislation are being worked out. We will have that next week. But I would just remind you that we always said it will be between 50 cents and a dollar, and around the time of the President's speech, said more specifically it would be probably 75 cents to 80 cents.
Q Which is it? (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: It's multiple choice.
Q So there's been no change in what you said, that it's going to be around that figure?
MS. MYERS: That was good guidance.
Q On the financing, does that mean that corporate assessment would be about one percent of payroll for large corporations?
MS. MYERS: Again, the final details are being worked out and we'll have it soon.
Q Does the President share -- view that the House has spoken on the collider and it would be futile to try to do anything to try to save it at this point?
MS. MYERS: The House, as you know, has twice voted it down. The President supports the policy. He thinks it will help both move technology forward and create jobs. We're talking to the House to see if there's any avenues left to pursue. We'll see what happens.
Q And secondly, did the President make any calls, did he do anything besides send a letter to the Hill on behalf of the collider before this vote?
MS. MYERS: He had a number of conversations with people over the course of the last few months.
Q Miss Myers, Congress has adopted legislation lifting restrictions on the U.S. policy regarding the PLO. One of them was opening an office here in Washington. And the legislation includes non-binding conditions that the President has asked to keep in mind when he considers dealing with the PLO. Has the President signed that legislation and what's happening to the relationship?
MS. MYERS: I'll have to take that question. I don't know whether he's signed it.
Q When can I get an answer?
MS. MYERS: I'll post the answer later today.
Q Was the President briefed on or aware of the discussions that occurred yesterday and today in connection with expanding the cabinet or expanding the government in --
MS. MYERS: He's been briefed on it.
Q Before it occurred?
MS. MYERS: I think it's part been an ongoing conversation. I'll have to take that piece of -- I don't know exactly when he knew what. But he's kept up to date on this; I'm sure he knew about it.
Q Does the President support that decision?
MS. MYERS: I've taken the broader question. I'm not taking any more questions on it.
Q Another aspect of that same --
MS. MYERS: You can have more non-answers if you want.
Q We're getting plenty I think -- (laughter.)
Q Well, let me add one more, which is we have stressed repeatedly, the President and other members of the administration, that Aristide is the duly-elected President of Haiti, elected by more votes than any other president in the Western Hemisphere, including President Clinton. Would we feel that we had the right to insist on the expansion of the cabinet if Aristide, the duly-elected President, were to object? Or do you think that he is the duly-elected President and it's his decision?
MS. MYERS: I've said all I'm going to say about the meeting where the expansion of the cabinet was discussed. We'll have more for you on it later.
Q Dee Dee, new subject. President Shevardnadze has appealed for international help to hold off the rebels in Georgia. Is the United States talking to Russia or Georgia or anyone about the possibility of shoring up his government?
MS. MYERS: I'll have to take that as well. As you know, Secretary Christopher is on his way to the region, but I'll see if we have anything more on it.
Q Back to Haiti. Are you aware of any contacts by anybody with Cedras, Francois or their supporters or members of their government to try to convince them or work out a method by which the Governors Island Agreement could get back on track, or is the U.S. relying solely on the sanctions?
MS. MYERS: I don't know if there have been any specific contacts. We'll take that under the umbrella of Haiti questions.
Q Does Clinton have any plans to echo what Janet Reno said on violence on TV today?
MS. MYERS: He's talked about violence on TV periodically. He sent a letter to the networks after they voluntarily decided to label it and to be aware of it. The President's certainly concerned about it, and will, I think from time to time, make comments about it.
Q Dee Dee, what is the understanding of the administration of statements by Ukraine that it's not going to give up its nukes, and what, if anything, is the U.S. planning on doing about it?
MS. MYERS: Well, first of all, Secretary Christopher will be there in a few days. But they have agreed to sign onto START and to abide by the terms of the NPT. We expect them to honor those obligations, and it will be certainly something that Secretary Christopher will discuss with them while he's there.
Q What's your understanding of these recent indications that they will not --
MS. MYERS: Well, again, I don't think we think -- it was a comment that he made to reporters in the hallway, I think. It wasn't an official policy statement. Again, they've made it clear, made a commitment to sign onto START and to abide by the terms of NPT, and we expect that they will.
Q When you say "sign onto START," do you mean --
MS. MYERS: Sign the START agreement.
Q Is it my understanding that the START agreement cannot go into effect unless they divest themselves of the nuclear weapons. Is that what you mean?
MS. MYERS: There's a process in place for them to divest themselves of the nuclear weapons; there's a number of things that are ongoing in terms of that.
Q Is that what you mean by sign on to START? In other words, START envisions Russia as the only nuclear power.
MS. MYERS: Exactly. But they would sign START before they became completely denuclearized, I believe. I mean, I'm happy to take that part of it, but that's my understanding.
Q Is it the administration's position that the government should follow the Al Gore plan and fold DEA functions into the FBI, or is it the administration's position that it should follow the Janet Reno plan and not fold DEA into the FBI?
MS. MYERS: The Attorney General is going to give a speech on that tomorrow.
Q Who is?
MS. MYERS: Attorney General Reno. I think that the discussion about exactly how those two law enforcement agencies will work together is an open question right now, and something that we're working on.
Q Is there some disagreement within the administration as to how this should be accomplished? Is that fair to say?
MS. MYERS: I think that there's an ongoing conversation about it. And I think that it will be resolved, and Attorney General --
Q A frank and open exchange?
MS. MYERS: It's a frank and open exchange. It's been ongoing.
Q Do you want to expand the Cabinet? (Laughter.)
Q Good meetings out of it?
MS. MYERS: We've had some very good meetings on it, and we expect that this good dialogue to continue. No, actually, there are a number of ways that the different law enforcement agencies can work together and we're looking at them.
Q On that, is it your understanding that her objections do not involve folding ATF into the FBI? She is in agreement on the President's proposals for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, correct?
MS. MYERS: I believe so. You'd have to check with Justice. I haven't heard anything to the contrary.
Q Dee Dee, the latest intelligence we get from the Hill is that Senator Dole is agreeing to, or about to agree to a sense of the Senate resolution as opposed to an amendment to the War Powers Act on what he wants the President to do in consulting Congress or getting congressional approval before sending troops to Haiti. Would the White House accept a sense that the Senate resolution go along with --
MS. MYERS: Again, I think even -- the negotiations are still ongoing there. What we really object to is anything that would infringe on the President's ability to act. I don't think we're clear exactly -- I think that discussions there are ongoing and I don't think we're clear where it's going to go yet.
Q Someone mentioned the Vice President. Does Marla Romash still work for the Vice President?
MS. MYERS: I think Marla has decided to look elsewhere, and we'll have more to say about that when she's ready which will be soon.
Q Is Lorraine going to replace her?
Q Has she resigned already?
MS. MYERS: I don't know if she's formally resigned, but --
Q Lorraine? (Laughter.)
Q Was she fired?
MS. MYERS: Absolutely not. Pardon me?
Q Shall we congratulate Lorraine now or --
MS. MYERS: No, I'm sure once Marla has a chance to make her future plans clear, a process will begin to replace her.
Q Lorraine, don't leave us.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 2:40 P.M. EDT