Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters on the House of Representatives Override of a Fiscal Year 1982 Supplemental Appropriations Bill

September 9, 1982

Q. Mr. President, is there any reaction you have to the vote in the House today?

The President. Yes, one of disappointment.

Q. Why were you disappointed when -- --

Q. Were you surprised today?

The President. What?

Q. Were you surprised today?

The President. Well, I can't say totally surprised. No, I knew it was an uphill fight.

Q. What happened, Mr. President? Why do you think you didn't have the votes?

The President. Well, because maybe there are more people in the Congress that want to spend than want to save. I'm hopeful with regard to the Senate tomorrow. But however it goes I'm going to keep on doing what I said I would do to the people, and that is, I am going to veto any time there's an attempt to bust the budget. And I promised to curb spending and to maintain the national defense, and I'm going to keep on trying to do that.

Q. Mr. President, you had a delegation of people from the administration on the Hill yesterday trying to work out a compromise that would lower the amount you are willing to accept. How much farther are you prepared to go to get an appropriation bill?

The President. Well, I don't think that's anything to talk about now, although, yes, obviously there were things in that bill I vetoed that I wanted. My own Caribbean Initiative was in there. I dream of the day when maybe Washington gets smart enough to give a President the right of a line-item veto.

Q. Mr. President, how serious a setback is this? This is one appropriations bill at the end of another budget year. Last year you were very frustrated by the budget process. How bad a setback is this one?

The President. Well, in the field of domestic spending it busts the budget by about $1 billion. You know, as some Democrats in the past have said, ``A billion here and a billion there. It adds up.'' [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, how much ground are you prepared to give in order to get a supplemental bill?

The President. Well, I want the Caribbean Initiative. They can put that in.

Q. What about for the elderly -- jobs for the elderly and student loans?

The President. Yes, this one slipped by me. I happen to believe in that program, and I gave them word that I would support that.

Q. How close is it in the Senate?

The President. I don't know. We're too far away. [Laughter]

Q. Do you want to send Senator Hatch home to vote the right way?

The President. I know he would.

Q. What?

The President. I know he would vote the right way.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at approximately 5 p.m. in the Union Pacific Room at the Ogden Hilton Hotel in Ogden, Utah. Following the session, the President attended a meeting at the hotel with Republican State chairmen from 12 Western States. The President remained overnight at the hotel.