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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 4, 1997


I am pleased that the Senate has heeded the warnings of eminent economists and constitutional experts from across the political spectrum, and defeated the balanced budget constitutional amendment.

At the same time, let me be clear: while I oppose a constitutional amendment, I am committed to achieving the bipartisan goal of balancing the budget by 2002. Last year, I sent Congress a plan to balance the budget, and I submitted a balanced budget plan again a few weeks ago.

The constitutional amendment could have caused or worsened recessions, permitted a minority of legislators to hold the Nation's creditworthiness hostage, involved unelected judges in spending and tax policy, and threatened Social Security and other vital benefits.

Now that the amendment vote has taken place, I call on Congress to join me in passing a plan to balance the budget by 2002 while protecting our values, strengthening education, and providing targeted tax relief to working families.

At the end of Congress' last session, we saw several instances of productive bipartisan cooperation. I hope that we can continue this spirit of bipartisanship and make progress for the American people by reaching agreement on a balanced budget plan this year. All it takes is their votes and my signature.

It's time to do the real work of balancing the budget.