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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 9, 2001

Remarks by the President in Photo Opportunity with the Cabinet
The Cabinet Room

9:15 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I'm discussing the budget we're sending to the Hill today, with my Cabinet. It's a budget that protects tax payers, protects children, protects our surplus. It represents compassionate conservatism. It's a budget that sets priorities. It's a budget that recognizes there are some good programs here in Washington that need to be funded.

For example, the budget provides a $21 million increase for food safety programs, $1 billion increase for Pell Grants for low income students, $350 million increase for child care. We help children whose parents are in prison with a $67 million mentoring program. We increase funding available to prevent child abuse by 66 percent. We fight crime, $87 million increase for front line prosecutors. We give $75 million for project Child Safe, which is a program that provides gun safety locks for families. It fights corporate subsidies. It eliminates thousands of one time earmarked projects.

Washington is known for pork. This budget funds our needs without the fat. It also represents a new way of doing business in Washington, and a new way of thinking. The budget puts the taxpayers first, and that's exactly where they belong. I'll be glad to answer questions.

Q Mr. President, members of your administration expected the crew to be freed over the weekend. At this point, how can you not agree with Chairman Hyde that they are hostages?

THE PRESIDENT: First, I just talked to General Sealock, who had a good visit with all 24 crew members. His report is that their spirits are very high, that they're doing well, and that's good news. Secondly, all of us around this table understand diplomacy takes time. But there is a point, the longer it goes, there's a point at which our relations with China could become damaged.

Q Is there any more that you can do or say, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Every day that goes by increases the potential that our relations with China could be damaged. And our hope is that this matter gets resolved quickly.

Q Is there anything else you can do? You said a week ago that it's time for them to come home. They're still not home. What else can the President of the United States do to bring our people home?

THE PRESIDENT: We're working behind the scenes. We've got every diplomatic channel open. We're in discussions with the Chinese. It is now time for our troops to come home, so that our relationship does not become damaged.

Thank you all.

END 9:19 A.M. EDT

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