Statement Endorsing the Congressional Conference Agreement on the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Bill

December 10, 1985

I am pleased that the Senate and House conferees have produced a bill that I can support which will bring the Federal budget into balance by 1991. I strongly endorse this measure and urge the Congress to act quickly and make this the law of the land. The American people have made clear their desire to eliminate the Federal deficit, and this bill provides a realistic way to accomplish that goal. Additionally, it is my strong hope that the Congress will build upon this effort to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to ensure that these deficit reductions are permanent.

While this proposal is welcome, I am concerned that in the extreme it could have adverse effects on maintaining adequate levels of defense spending. We have no higher priority than maintaining a strong national defense. To that end, I am committed to and will propose budgets that meet this requirement. I look forward to working with Congress to implement our previous agreements on defense spending levels. In pursuing our commitment to a balanced Federal budget, I am pleased that Gramm-Rudman-Hollings does so in the proper way, by providing the incentive to reduce Federal spending, not by raising taxes. As I have said, the budget deficits are not the result of Americans paying too little in taxes; they come from the Federal Government spending too much money.

This agreement is the result of a lot of hard work and determination. In particular, Senators Gramm, Rudman, and Hollings have energetically fought to produce this landmark legislation. Much credit also goes to Senators Domenici and Packwood and Congressmen Foley, Gephardt, and Panetta. They are to be commended for their dedicated efforts to deficit reduction.