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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 30, 2001
Remarks by the President and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill During Secretary O'Neill's Swearing in Ceremony
The Oval Office
12:06 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm pleased to welcome Nancy O'Neill and the O'Neill family here. Thank you all for coming. It's an honor for both the Vice President and I to say some words about the Secretary of Treasury. With Paul over at the Treasury, he is literally a next door neighbor. And I'm going to see a lot of him right here in this office. He'll be a valued advisor and a steady hand.
Secretary O'Neill has served in this office before, at the Office of Management and Budget. He understands the workings and responsibilities of the Executive Branch. More then that, he understands the private sector, where he and others like him have been driving our country's economic boom.
In a distinguished career, Paul has earned a reputation as a straight shooter and an innovator. And I'm proud to welcome him as the Chief Financial Officer of this nation. Paul and I share a great goal: to make sure that all Americans can find high paying, high quality jobs. And we share a vision of how to get there. Our prosperity depends on free trade, less regulation and America's strong place in our global economy. More than ever, American jobs depend on America's standing in the world.
I value Paul's vast experience in the world economy. I value his background in employing American workers. And I value his steadiness, his conviction and his authority. We also share a belief that broad, responsible tax cuts are an important step we can take to regain the momentum of our economy. When we reduce the income tax burden, we must do so for everybody who pays taxes.
When we have a government surplus, we must prioritize and spend responsibly and return some of that surplus to the people who worked for it. Because our government has a surplus does not mean that every American family has a surplus. In fact, many families are feeling squeezed by high energy prices and credit card debt. We need to give them their own money back, to help families manage their own account, to pay down their own personal debts.
Our tax cut will give the biggest percentage reductions to people who struggle to get into the middle class, and American families who struggle to stay there.
I believe in leaving more dollars with the people who earned them, and so does Secretary O'Neill. And I'm proud that those dollars will soon bear the signature of Secretary Paul O'Neill.
Congratulations, Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY O'NEILL: Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President. Thank you also to my wife. This is a new form of retirement. (Laughter.) I'm deeply honored to be asked by the President to serve in his Cabinet and to have this important responsibility to help him realize the vision that he has for America.
The reason I've chosen this over retirement is because I do believe deeply in the things that he has articulated as a vision for our country. And in my portfolio is obviously a need to move on with giving the American people's money back to them, which we are dedicated to doing. And I look forward to that, and working with the President and the Vice President to deliver a solution for Social Security, which has been promised, and on the many other important objectives, beginning with education.
So, thank you again, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Secretary, thank you.
Why don't we have a family picture, too, if you'd like one. Come on up.
SECRETARY O'NEILL: I have four children, and three of them are here today. And I have 12 grandchildren, and only a few of them are here. But we need the President, yes, indeed.
END 12:10 P.M. EST