THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||November 5, 1998|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT,
CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
IN PHOTO OPPORTUNITY
WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS
The Oval Office
9:47 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. The Vice President and Ihave just finished a good meeting with Senator Daschle andCongressman Gephardt. We all agree that the message from theAmerican people in the last election is clear -- that they want us topursue progress over partisanship and to find unity over division.
And we talked about how best to start that process. Webelieve the best way to start is by taking up the patients' bill ofrights -- the legislation that would guarantee quality health care toAmericans without regard to whether they are in managed care plans ornot and would assure that medical decisions are made by doctors, notby accountants.
In the last session of Congress that bill lost by onlyfive votes in the House, and we now have five more Democrats comingto the House. It came very close to passing in the United StatesSenate. It need not be a partisan issue, indeed, a cosponsor of thepatients' bill of rights in the House is Congressman Greg Ganske fromIowa, a Republican physician who has spoken very eloquently about theneed for this legislation.
So what we want to do is to reach out to like mindedpeople in the other party to try to heed the admonition of theAmerican people and the direction that we certainly agree we ought totake and get to work together. We're looking forward to it and thisis where we think we should begin.
Q Congressman Gephardt, what do you think this doesto the impeachment hearings? Does it wipe them out, diminish them,slow them down or what?
CONGRESSMAN GEPHARDT: First, I want to agree with thePresident on the patients' bill of rights. I feel very strongly thatwe can get this done. If you have a sick family member you want itdone now, so we're going to work very hard to see if we can get itdone in the early part of this next year.
I don't know what is happening on Mr. Hyde's statement-- if they are moving in our direction, we wanted them to some weeksago and they're going to get this over with in a fair and expeditiousway, that's good.
Q Mr. President, do you anticipate that your lawyerswill vigorously attack the Starr report in the committee? And isthere any testimony in that report, sir, that you dispute?
THE PRESIDENT: I have nothing to say about that. Iwant these hearings to be constitutional, fair and expeditious. Atthe appropriate time in the appropriate way, we will say whatever weintend to say. But I have nothing to say about it.
I think the important thing is that we've got to go backto doing the people's business. The American people sent us amessage that would break the eardrums of anyone who was listening.They want their business tended to. They are tired of seeingWashington focused on politics and personalities. They want thepeople and their issues and their future taken care of, and that'swhat we're here to do.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: If I could say a brief word.Before you all came in here we had a long meeting, this subject nevereven came up. We heard what the American people said, and what theysaid was turn to the people's business. And that's what this wholemeeting has been about.
Q Mr. President, are you still in jeopardy, sir? Doyou believe you're still in jeopardy?
THE PRESIDENT: That's out of my hands. That's up tothe American people and the Congress. All I know is I've got a dayhere an I want to make the most of it.
Q Mr. President, are you concerned at all about theapparent lack of support among the Persian Gulf allies for a tougheraction against Iraq at this point?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, actually, my information is thatSecretary Cohen had a good trip and we believe we'll have the supportthat we need for whatever decisions we ultimately make.
Q Including military action?
THE PRESIDENT: We believe we'll have the support weneed and all options are on the table.