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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 3, 2001
President Discusses First Six Months in Office
The Rose Garden
4:05 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. The Vice President and I are pleased to welcome the Cabinet to the Rose Garden. Together with Congress, we are proving that a new tone, a clear agenda and active leadership can bring significant progress to the nation's capital. We are ending deadlock and drift and making our system work on behalf of the American people.
Six months ago, I chose a distinguished Cabinet, took a solemn oath, and promised to fight for the things close to my heart. My administration pledged to bring stability and high standards to Washington and to lead for the sake of all Americans.
Six months later, I'm proud of my Cabinet and the White House staff, who have worked with such energy and have brought integrity to their jobs. I'm grateful for the goodwill shown by Congress, and I am pleased with the progress we have made together, progress that touches every American family.
We acted quickly to pass the first major tax cut in a generation, to help families in an economic slowdown and to help rebuild the momentum of our economy.
Both houses of Congress have passed major education reform legislation, which will bring a new passion for excellence to America's public schools. We have broken six years of gridlock in the task of protecting patients from arbitrary medical decisions made by bureaucrats.
The House has passed a bill to promote the work of mentoring groups, homeless shelters and drug treatment facilities. And I have had positive discussions with leaders in the United States Senate on this matter.
The House has also passed an energy plan that addresses current needs. We have put our foreign policy on sound footing. We are strengthening our relationships with our allies and moving to build a world that trades more freely.
We have taken the first steps toward revitalizing and transforming our military so it can meet the threats and challenges of the future. Today, the Senate joined with the House to provide our farmers with $5.5 billion of emergency help. We passed a budget resolution that, for the first time in recent memory, has been respected, not ignored. And we are on our way to the second largest surplus in history, as well as paying down a significant amount of U.S. debt.
On this path, we are headed for a year of strong, meaningful legislative achievements. And I want to express my thanks for every legislator who made tough decisions, every legislator who chose long-term progress over short-term political gain.
There's much more to do. In September, the second stage of our work begins, and I will be guided by a few goals. First, we must finish the work we have begun. On the topics of education and the disadvantaged, our nation has needs that will not wait. Americans, come September, will be watching. They want us to be principled, not partisan. They want us to look for agreement instead of looking for fights and arguments. Americans know obstructionism when they see it; and when necessary, I will point it out.
Second, the Congress must live within the generous limits of our budget. Irresponsible spending is a threat to our economy and a threat to the essential functions of our government. I will protect Medicare, Social Security and our Armed Forces. And I will protect the American taxpayers.
The Congress, through its budget resolution, has given its word on spending. So far, Congress has kept its word. And it must continue to do so.
Third, within a limited budget we must have an active, compassionate government. Beginning in September, I'll be proposing creative ways to tackle some of the toughest problems in our society. We must take the side of parents trying to raise responsible, motivated and moral children. We must help disadvantaged Americans find opportunity and ownership and the tools to succeed in our free economy. We must show that our welcoming society values the ideals and contributions of immigrants. We must challenge Americans to be citizens, not spectators, in the renewal of their neighborhoods and their cities.
In a few days, I'm headed home to the heartland, to listen to the American people, and to talk about the values that unite and sustain our country. Members of Congress are going home as well. When we all come back in September, so many accomplishments are within our reach. And I look forward to the work ahead.
Thank you all very much.
END 2:29 P.M. EDT