Remarks and Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters Following Congressional Action on Federal Tax Reduction Legislation
July 29, 1981
The President. From the bottom of my heart, I want to express my thanks to the Congress for responding this afternoon to the pleas of millions of taxpayers. The victory we've just won doesn't belong to any one individual or one party or one administration. The victories -- as a matter of fact, because there have been more than one today -- are for all the people. A strong bipartisan coalition of Congress, Republicans and Democrats together, has virtually assured the first real tax cut that this country has had in nearly 20 years. And it has also removed one of the most important remaining challenges on our agenda for prosperity.
I believe this first 6 months of 1981 is going to mark the beginning of a new renaissance in America. Now we can face the future with confidence and courage, because we know we're united, and we know that we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
No one should doubt the difficulties that we still face, but we have made a new beginning. We're back on the right road; we're making progress. And if we keep working together, we can reach that new era of prosperity that we all want. And as we do, we'll be showing the world that our democratic system of government works because you, the people, make it work.
Thank you very much.
Q. Sir, have you now got your program in place? Ought it now to work the way you envision it?
The President. Yes. Because of the bipartisan nature, there have been changes from the original program that we submitted, but the bulk of that program, the theme as we wanted it put together, is there. And as you know, the vote was completely bipartisan -- 238 to 195 in the House and in the Senate this afternoon, 89 to 11.
Q. When is all this prosperity going to come about, and did you make any promises today that will cost the American people a lot of money?
The President. No, not a bit. As a matter of fact, I had several of the -- even those gentlemen that I called who didn't feel that they could go with our plan have remarked that they'll testify there's been no arm-twisting or anything of that kind.
Q. When will we see the prosperity, Mr. President?
The President. Well, I said that there were difficulties that we face. We've been a long time -- we've been decades coming to the point where we are, and you're not going to cure this overnight. But I think this program -- as a matter of fact, I think the very fact of its passage before the program begins to show the results is going to have a psychological effect that we will see in the expectation of the people here and in the business community. But it's going to take -- that's why it's a 3-year program, it's going to take those 3 years.
Q. How about by the end of the year, Mr. President, will Americans start to feel relief by the end of the year?
The President. I think that we should be seeing some signs by then. But remember, it's a 3-year program because that was our target, that we wouldn't be reaching our goal for 3 years. The effect of the tax cuts in putting money back into the economy, well, those can't be seen until that money is invested in the economy. And of course, the budget cuts in government are going to be felt as they begin to take place in the 1982 budget year that begins October 1st.
Q. What are you going to focus on next?
The President. I think there are a lot of things that maybe are, you might say, in the beginnings, in the works now, but matters that have to be dealt with that we're talking about that have to do with our relations with other countries. There's the Middle East situation and this, too, is looking better. At least we've stopped the bulk of the violence there. But our building up of our defenses, our going forward with the plans for discussing reduction of armaments with the Soviet Union -- there are many social issues to be settled, also. I don't think that we'll close up the desk and go fishing.
Q. The Senate Intelligence Committee seems to have cleared Mr. Casey. What's your reaction to that?
The President. They didn't seem to, they unanimously said they wanted him to remain as Director of the CIA. I'm not surprised, because we knew that those first wild charges and accusations had no substantiation behind them. And we're very pleased with that.
Q. Any personal message for Speaker O'Neill? Any last words? [Laughter]
The President. No, the Speaker and I have decided that after 6 o'clock, we're friends.
Q. Well, when you're the winner it's easy to be kind. [Laughter]
Q. If you didn't arm-twist, what brought them all along?
The President. Actually, Helen, [Helen Thomas, United Press International] what we did was when we talked to them, we said, ``Remember, in 6 months we have come from tax cut versus no cut at all.'' That was the first position against us. And now it came to a choice of which tax cut. And what we discussed was, in every meeting and every phone call, I said that I happened to believe that our plan was better geared to getting the economy going again; did they have any questions, any particular concerns that I could speak to? And many of them did and would take a point or two, and I would give them what I thought was the proper answer to the questions they raised.
And I had some outstanding help from a number of people, but particularly from a very fine salesman named Secretary Don Regan. We were able to clarify points that, for many of them, that did put them on our side. In some instances, there were those who sincerely felt the other way, and there was never any animus or anything else. I understood their position, and that's what the game's all about.
Q. There were absolutely no secret promises at all?
The President. Nope. No.
Mr. Speakes. Okay, let's stop there. Thank you.
Q. Are you going to invite O'Neill over for a glass of champagne?
The President. He's sure welcome.
Q. Thank you, sir.
Note: The President spoke at 5:35 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.
Larry M. Speakes is Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary.