THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT BEFORE MEETING WITH DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP
The Oval Office
10:20 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: We are here, and anxious to get to work, but I wanted to make an announcement this morning and chart our course for the year ahead.
Two years ago, I formed a partnership for prosperity and opportunity with the Democratic leadership in Congress. Along with then Speaker Foley and Majority Leader Mitchell, the Democrats put together majorities that we needed in both the House and the Senate to make the hardest choices Washington has made in over a generation -- to cut federal spending deeply; to raise revenues, largely from income tax increases on the top 1.5 percent of our people, and corporations with incomes of over $10 million; to reinvent and restructure the government so that it would be much smaller and still work better; and to invest in education, research and technology, and tax relief for working families of modest incomes.
Most important of all, the Congress chose to do the right thing, rather than the political thing, because they believed it was more important to make real life easier for Americans than it was to make political life more comfortable for people here in Washington. As a result, there was a huge increase in investment and economic growth, building on the productivity of American workers and American businesses.
This morning I am pleased to announce that the recovery of which our economic plan was such a large part has brought paychecks to more than a quarter million more Americans in December alone. And compared with an unemployment rate of over seven percent when I took office, we now see an unemployment rate in December of 5.4 percent. We have grown the private economy as we have cut government. That's a real recovery and a real bargain for the American people.
A real recovery means that in 1994 alone our economy created 3.5 million new jobs, the most created in one year by the private sector in a decade. In '93 and '94 combined, our economy has produced 5.6 million new jobs. A real recovery means that after losing two million manufacturing jobs in the previous 12 years, in 1994 alone, 292,000 manufacturing jobs were added to the economy and manufacturing jobs grew in every month of this year -- last year -- for the first time since the 1970s. It means working people can look to the future with more hope and more optimism now, especially if we move to protect the economic expansion and to get to work to match the expansion with income growth increases for ordinary American working people.
We're ready to build on the progress we've made in cutting spending and the size of the federal work force. As I announced last year, the reduction and reinvention of government will continue with the budget I will submit next month. But I will stand against any effort to roll back or to rock the foundations of the recovery by proposals that explode the deficit or gimmicks that undermine the integrity of the budget we have worked so hard to put in place, and to ensure that incomes grow, which is, after all, the most important thing to ordinary American working families. We have to pair that with the economic growth by arming America's families with the tools they need to increase their own prosperity.
Our Middle Class Bill of Rights will do just that by ensuring more investments in better education and more disposable income for hardworking families who deserve some benefits from this recovery. We will do it by rewarding investments in education; in the rearing of children; in paying for education, health care, retirement costs; paying for training. These are things that will generate economic opportunity as well as tax fairness. They will ensure that the work ethics and the work efforts of the middle class are rewarded with growing incomes.
We've had a good first two years. It's time now to make a commitment to keep it going. We, the Democrats, stand ready to work in partnership with the Republicans. We want to make sure that we can do as well in the next two years as we have in the first two, and I think that they will have the same attitude.
Thank you very much.
Q Mr. President, can you tell us what your message to Boris Yeltsin is?
THE PRESIDENT: I want to talk about jobs today. I already discussed that --
Q Are the Democrats united on the economic issues?
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END10:25 A.M. EST