THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Lansing, Michigan) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 22, 1999
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE OVERFLOW CROWD Lansing Community College Lansing, Michigan
1:50 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming today. I wish we'd had room for everybody at the other place, but you are much cooler than we were. (Laughter.) And I hope you enjoyed the event, even long distance.
I was very impressed with the people who spoke, and I think it will be very effective in trying to make the point we're trying to make. And I'm not going to make another speech, but I'm curious -- how many students are here? (Applause.) One of the things that I'm proudest of that we've accomplished in this Congress is, after the Balanced Budget Act, we've passed this HOPE Scholarship which gives a $1,500 tax credit for -- (applause) -- and I hope you're all using it. (Applause.)
The only other point I want to hammer home that I made today is, it is very important when we debate how much should go to a tax cut, should we save Social Security and Medicare, should we pay off the debt, that we not adopt a budget -- as some are up there saying, they're saying, okay, well, we'll do it your way on Social Security and Medicare, but give us a bigger tax cut, which would mean we'd actually have to cut federal support for education, which I think would be a terrible mistake, because if, for no other reason, the financing of higher education -- it's absolutely critical.
But there are a lot of important things we're doing in our elementary and secondary schools, too, to try to lower class sizes and put more teachers out there and do things like that. So I hope all of you will also respond to what I asked the audience over there, which is, if you agree with the position we're taking -- save Social Security and Medicare, invest in education and defense and the environment, have a modest tax cut and pay the debt off -- if you agree with that, I hope you will communicate that to the members of the Senate and Congress from Michigan. Write them a letter, send them an e-mail, send them a fax, do something. It will make a difference.
I really hope that we can conduct this discussion and bring it to a successful conclusion. I don't think that we need to have a two-year-long, protracted political battle over this. I think this is a relatively easy decision to make if the Congress can be convinced that that's where the American people are. And I believe people of all ages think that now we have this moment which is once in a lifetime, maybe once in a generation opportunity, and we ought to take it and go with it.
So I thank you for coming, and I'm going to start down here and go over here and shake hands with anybody who wants to come by and say hello. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 1:53 P.M. EDT