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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 6, 1997

Statement by the President on the Economy

Four years ago, we put in place an economic strategy that has helped give America the strongest economy in the world. That strategy had three critical components: cutting the budget deficit, making smart investments in education, the environment, and our children, and opening new markets through tough trade agreements.

Today, we received one more piece of solid evidence that this invest-and-grow strategy is working. We learned that our economy added 138,000 new jobs, and that unemployment dropped to 4.8 percent, the lowest in 24 years. The American economy has now added 12.3 million new jobs since I took office, and unemployment has now been below 6 percent for almost three years. America's economy is the strongest it has been in a generation.

Now we must press forward with the economic strategy that we adopted in 1993 and that has helped create the conditions for sustained growth. The balanced budget agreement I reached with leaders of Congress embodies our strategy. It is a balanced budget that is in balance with our values, and yesterday's strong endorsement of it by the House and Senate ratifies that economic strategy. This bipartisan action is a hopeful sign that both parties can work together to keep our economy growing. I look forward to working with leaders of both parties to write our balanced budget plan into law.

The progress of the balanced budget shows what America can accomplish when we reach across party lines and work together. Unfortunately, the Republican leaders of Congress have chosen the path of partisanship and confrontation in their actions on the disaster relief bill. Because Congressional leaders chose to attach unacceptable political items to vital disaster relief legislation, I have no choice but to veto that measure. Once again, I call on the Congress to honor the sacrifice, and aid the recovery, of the families in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and across the country by passing straightforward disaster relief legislation and sending it to my desk.

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