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Expanding Opportunity

Excerpt from July 10, 2002 Press Briefing with
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer

Click here for the full transcript

QUESTION: We are trying to create an entirely new government agency. We are dealing with investor confidence and corporate scandals. A lot of things that are priorities and have to be, you know, done right away. So is part of this simply just a hugely full calendar.

FLEISCHER: Well, there are a lot of issues that are pending in the Congress. But unfortunately, what has happened is many of these issues have gotten bottled up and time has run out, or is running out.

If the House of Representatives was able to pass the supplemental appropriation 111 days ago, you just have to wonder why it takes this long. When Congress itself declares this an emergency, you would think that, if it's an emergency, there would be a willingness to act quickly to address the emergency. Instead, it's been a question of a great bit of time.

But there are many issues that are still being debated in the Congress that were passed by either the House and/or the Senate months ago, if not last year. And the president is very concerned.

If you remember, he held a news conference Monday, and he began it by going through the agenda that remains: the need to make America more energy independent; the need to pass the faith based legislation to bring hope to people who live in communities where they lack hope and opportunity.

The patients' bill of rights remains before the Congress, the ban on human cloning remains before the Congress, trade promotion authority remains before the Congress. This is a real test of this Congress to see whether or not they will be able to get these things done.

Last year the Congress was able to take action, particularly earlier in the year, to pass tax cuts and education.