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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release January 2, 1996
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                          AND SPEAKER GINGRICH 
                       BEFORE PRINCIPALS MEETING                             

The Oval Office

6:15 P.M. EST

Q Mr. President, is this the meeting at which you're going to start making some compromises on the most contentious issues?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm looking forward to it and I hope we can reach an agreement. I want to compliment the Senate on voting to reopen the government today for the next several days while we attempt to finalize this, and I hope the House will follow suit. That's a very good sign, and I'm looking forward to the meeting tonight.

Q Will the House follow suit, Mr. Speaker?

SPEAKER GINGRICH: Well, our members will be back by noon tomorrow, and we hope to meet with all of them and brief them on tonight's meeting and whatever happens tomorrow morning, and maybe get something done during the day tomorrow. I think if we can both get movement on the balanced budget and get the government back to work, and paid for, that really would be a good step in the right direction.

Q Will you encourage them to take the Senate bill?

SPEAKER GINGRICH: We're going to have a good meeting tonight and we'll report to the members what happened when they get back tomorrow.

Q Is it fair of the American people to think this really should have been over weeks ago? Is it fair of the American people to think this has taken far too long and really should have been over weeks ago?

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 6:16 P.M. EST