Remarks on Signing Documents Transmitting Budget Revisions to the Congress

March 9, 1981

I'm going to make a statement here, but before I do, I just want to thank all of you. You're from the Office of Management and Budget, and you're the ones that have been working and slaving very hard, and all of us here are deeply grateful to you. And, at which time I shall now read a statement in which I'll take all the credit. [Laughter]

Today I'm signing a message to the Congress that adds hundreds of savings to the 83 major reductions that we announced on February 18th, and this brings our proposed budget outlay savings for 1982 to $48.6 billion. In addition, I'm proposing changes in user charges and off-budget payments that will save another $7.3 billion. Now, these are unprecedented cuts to meet an unprecedented situation, and they mark the end of an old era and the beginning of a new one. We're determined to enable the American people to gain control of the runaway government which threatens our economic vitality.

The details of this program, which have been drawn up and completed during the past 6 weeks, will be released tomorrow when the official budget goes to Congress. Like the first round of cuts, these reductions are evenhanded, and the safety net of basic income suport programs remains intact. Although it is now up to the Congress to act on these proposals, I believe that the Congress and the executive branch have a responsibility to involve the American people directly in these deliberations. We must see to it that the voice of the average American, not that of special interests or full-time lobbyists, is the dominant one.

Now, these cuts are not necessarily the last ones. We're committed to a 5-year spending program, and I am determined to stop the spending juggernaut. If more cuts are needed to keep within our spending ceilings, I will not hesitate to propose them. I would also stress what you already know: If we can control spending and shave a few points off the inflation rate, we can do more good for the poor, the elderly, and the finances of State and local government than any package of Federal programs ever could. The reductions contained in this message are part of a longer term program designed to stop inflation, reward enterprise and initiative, and put America back on the road to prosperity. As I've said many times, our ultimate goal is to make government, again, the servant of the people by cutting its size and scope and ensuring that its legitimate functions are carried out efficiently and justly.

Now, what I'm signing there are three acts that must go up to the Congress. That is not the Federal budget; we couldn't get a truck in here with all of us here in the Rose Garden. So, I shall now sign.

[At this point, the President signed a message to the Congress transmitting the fiscal year 1982 budget revisions, a message to the Congress on rescission proposals and deferrals for the fiscal year 1981 budget, and a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives transmitting proposed supplemental appropriations and amendments to the fiscal year 1981, 1982, and 1984 budgets.]

All right. It's signed, and I think I have one little task here yet to do. There's been a lot of cartooning lately, and this is a cartoon. And maybe some of you are too far away to really see it -- [laughter] -- this is the original inscribed to Dave Stockman by the cartoonist. But I just had to add a little note over my own signature on the other side. For those who might be in the back, my desk is now an old door on four cement blocks, a crate for a seat, and my pens are kept in an empty bean can. So, I have just written, ``Dear Dave, I hope you use second-hand cement blocks. The price of concrete is out of sight.'' [Laughter]

Well, thank you all again very much and, Dave, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Note: The President spoke at 1:02 p.m. at the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House.