Remarks to Reporters on Action by the House Appropriations Committee Supporting Production of the MX Missile

December 2, 1982

The President. I just have a brief statement here regarding some news that has come to us from the Capitol.

Today's vote in favor of the peacekeeping missile system by the House Appropriations Committee is a vote for a stronger, more secure America. I applaud the judgment of the members of the committee, and I urge the full House to show similar wisdom by approving the committee position.

This program is essential to the ability of the United States to maintain a credible deterrent on land, in the air, and on the sea. Moving forward on schedule will also greatly increase the prospects for a meaningful strategic arms reduction agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Q. Well, Mr. President, you almost lost that one. Aren't you a little sorry that this goes right to the floor?

The President. No. We wanted to get it out of the committee. And we're not jumping up and down and claiming a victory, because we know it's going to be a very tough battle on the floor. I assume it'll come to a vote probably next week sometime, and I just hope that the floor will follow the committee's recommendation.

Q. Your chief sponsor on the floor -- on the committee, Mr. Edwards, viewed it as a weak -- because it weakens the administration's position.

The President. Well, I consider a win a win. And, frankly, it was in danger of not getting out of the committee, and it did. And I have been making a few calls, thanking some of the people who helped bring that victory -- --

Q. Are you going to start lobbying when you get home?

The President. What?

Q. Lobbying Members of this Congress when you get home for that vote next week?

The President. Well, I'll find out when I get home what needs to be done, and do whatever needs to be done to -- if I can be of help.

Q. What gives you any optimism that you can win on the floor?

The President. What's that?

Q. What gives you any optimism you can win on the floor?

The President. Well, because right is on our side. And I have to believe that if they'll think about it, they'll realize that this is absolutely essential to the process that is going forward in Geneva. It could be very destructive to our efforts at peace and disarmament if they don't do it.

Note: The President spoke at 2:48 p.m. in the Salao dos Despachos of the Palacio dos Bandeirantes in Sao Paulo, Brazil.