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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 25, 2001
Remarks by the President in Meeting with Members of Congress
11:15 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: It's my honor to welcome to the White House members from the Senate and the House, members who are concerned about American foreign policy, to give them a briefing about my trip to Europe.
I'm going to talk about how we agreed that we need to expand trade; how we also agreed how we need to help nations who are less fortunate than our nation. I look forward to having a very confidential briefing about my meeting with President Putin, and the hope and promise I see for a constructive relationship.
I also am aware that there are some foreign policy matters in the Congress. And I urge Congress to deal fairly with Mexico and to not treat the Mexican truck industry in an unfair fashion; that I believe strongly we can have safety measures in place that will make sure our highways are safe. But we should not single out Mexico. Mexico is our close friend and ally and we must treat them with respect and uphold NAFTA and the spirit of NAFTA.
I also fully understand that foreign policy is best when conducted in a bipartisan fashion and I so very much appreciate the Chairman, I spoke to the Chairman -- both Chairmen -- before my trip overseas this time and before my trip last time overseas. And I take their advice very seriously, and counsel, very seriously. It helps for us to continue to communicate, particularly when it comes to foreign policy.
So thank you all for coming. I'll be glad to answer maybe one or two questions.
Q Mr. President, on the patients' bill of rights there is some talk that the House Republicans are now planning to schedule a vote later, perhaps as late as September. Is that a recognition on the part of the party and its leadership that you don't have the votes to get what you want on that issue?
THE PRESIDENT: I am hopeful we'll get a bill I can sign. And I appreciate so very much the hard work that's going on, particularly now in the House of Representatives, to bring a bill that is fair to patients. There seems to be a -- there was a lot of negotiations going on when I was gone, and there still seems to be a lot of talk. And, obviously, we'd like to get this bill finished and on my desk, and a bill I can sign.
I laid out the principles that would allow me to sign a bill, and I still stand by those principles. But I can report we're making pretty good progress, it seems like.
Q Mr. President, OPEC is about to cut production by a million barrels a day. What is that going to do to the already struggling economy?
THE PRESIDENT: Steve, it is very important for there to be stability in a marketplace. I read some comments from the OPEC ministers who said this was just a matter to make sure the market remains stable and predictable. Obviously, if it's an attempt to run the price of oil up, we'll make our opinions very clear and known, that that would hurt America and hurt the marketplace. Our economy is bumping along right now and a run-up in energy prices would hurt. And, surely, the OPEC leaders understand that. I think they do.
Thank you all for coming.
END 11:19 A.M. EDT