THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN PHOTO OPPORTUNITY WITH PRESIDENT SNEGUR OF MOLDOVA
The Oval Office
12:08 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Let me say, first of all, it's a real pleasure and an honor for me and for the United States to welcome President Snegur here and the whole delegation from Moldova. They have been a real model of commitment to democracy and to economic reform. And we have been deeply impressed by the work they have done, the progress they have made. And I'm looking forward to my visit with him.
I also want to thank him for sending me the nice Moldovan wine last Christmas, which was very much appreciated here at the White House.
Q Mr. President, will you have a Mexico bailout bill ready today? The peso and the Bolsa are dropping sharply.
THE PRESIDENT: We certainly hope so. I worked yesterday for several hours on this, and secured again the reaffirmation of the commitment of the leadership of both parties in both Houses to go forward. And we have put out more strong statements today about it.
I think we just -- this is something we have to do. The time is not a friendly factor, and I realize that the Congress had other important measures to debate last week -- the unfunded mandates legislation in the Senate, the balanced budget amendment in the House. But this can be resolved fairly quickly, and it needs to be.
Q Mr. President, there's a suggestion by some leaders that support is eroding for the package rather than increasing. Do you -- is that the case?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it will increase again once people look at the facts, if we get a bill out there. We need to -- the bill needs to go in. And Secretary Rubin has, and others, have negotiated in great detail and in good faith with the appropriate leaders in the Congress, the committee chairs and others. And I think they're ready for a bill to go forward. And it's time to get it in and go forward.
Q What do you think of critics who say it's a bailout for Wall Street?
THE PRESIDENT: It isn't a bailout for Wall Street. There are -- first of all, helping the economy stay strong down there is more important than anything else for our working people and our businesses on Main Street that are doing such business in Mexico. If they want to continue to grow and to have that as a market, we can't let the financial markets, in effect, collapse the Mexican political and economic structure.
Secondly, there are a lot of pension plans and ordinary Americans that have their investments tied up there. Thirdly, we have immigration and narcotics cooperation and control issues here involved. This is something for ordinary Americans. It's very much in our interest, and we don't want to let it spread to other countries, and indeed, to developing countries throughout the world. We're trying to promote countries that are moving toward market reforms and moving toward democracy, not to undermine them. And it's very much in our personal interest to do so. It is not a Wall Street bailout, it's in America's interest to build the kind of future we want.
Q Are you optimistic you'll get a package this week or next?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm optimistic that we'll pass it because more often than not in very difficult issues the Congress does the right thing. And we've got a new and different Congress, but I think they'll do the right thing.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END12:12 P.M. EST