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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 16, 1995
                      REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                      AT CONGRESSIONAL MEETING
                             Blair House

11:40 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Let me, first of all, welcome all of you here. I thank you for being here. I imagine some of you have stayed here in an unplanned way over the weekend.

We are determined, as Democrats, to try to work together and to try to work with the Republicans to achieve a balanced budget, but in a way that is consistent with our principles.

As all of you know, yesterday the Republican congressional leaders called the negotiations off unless we would first put much bigger Medicare and Medicaid cuts on the table. I thought that was wrong and unwarranted.

Virtually all of us don't agree with the large portions of their tax package, and particularly a lot of the special interest provisions of it. But we didn't ask them to abandon it just to talk and begin negotiations.

So we hope that we can get back to a constructive dialogue consistent with our values, our principles and what's good for this country. And that's what we're going to be working on today.

We don't believe that decimating Medicare and Medicaid and undermining our investments in education and the environment, raising taxes on working families is a good prescription for America's future. And it is not necessary to balance the budget.

So we're going back to work today. We're going to keep working, trying to reach as much agreement among ourselves as possible, and then we'll keep reaching out to the Republicans in Congress in the hope of passing the right kind of balanced budget.

Thank you very much.

END 11:42 A.M. EST