The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 3, 2001

President Discusses First Six Months in Office
The Rose Garden

      View the President's Remarks
     Listen to the President's Remarks

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

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