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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 22, 1995
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                        AT CONGRESSIONAL MEETING
                            The Cabinet Room   

12:52 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: I hope -- as you see, we're running a little behind today, so I hope you'll forgive us if we don't do a lot of questions; we have a lot of work to do. But let me just say from my point of view, I am pleased that our representatives met yesterday. They did make some progress. Obviously, a lot of the biggest issues remain. But the process seems to be working and I'm encouraged, and I want to continue to do it until we reach agreement on a balanced budget. That's what I think clearly we all want.

I would say here that two days before Christmas I hope some way can be found to get the check for the three and a half million veterans and the aid to the 8 million children who need it just to exist. And there are almost half a million federal workers who have been working who won't get their paychecks today that they would otherwise get. So I think those problems need to be addressed.

But on the other issue, I at least believe that we made some good progress yesterday and I'm looking forward to the report today and continuing this process until we succeed, until we get this job done.

Q Can we ask the leaders, Mr. President, if they will get the checks out and --

Q Do you think the Congress should go home when millions are denied subsistence checks over Christmas?

SPEAKER GINGRICH: Well, let me just say, if I could for a second, Mr. President, I think both the House and Senate hope to get those bills down here today so that the -- the AFTC and the -- as the President mentioned the other day on television.

Q What are the chances of reopening the government, Mr. Speaker?

SPEAKER GINGRICH: I think we're going to talk about that now.

Q Mr. Speaker, do you feel like a dog being wagged by its tail? (Laughter.)

SPEAKER GINGRICH: It's amazing you guys get paid for some of these questions, on the eve of Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Q No, it's not my expression, it's the President's analysis.

THE PRESIDENT: I never called the Speaker a dog. (Laughter.)

Q No, I know you didn't.

SPEAKER GINGRICH: And I'm deeply grateful. (Laughter.)

Q Mr. President, do you think you can get a framework of a deal by Christmas?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm prepared to -- let me just say, I'm prepared to just keep working. I think all of us want to have Christmas with our families, but beyond that, I'm prepared to keep working, and I'm going to do everything I can to succeed, and that's what we're going to talk about.

Q Mr. Speaker --

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. We really need to go to work.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 12:54 P.M. EST