Press Briefing by Jake Siewert (8/24/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                           August 24, 2000

                              PRESS BRIEFING
                               JAKE SIEWERT

                     The James S. Brady Briefing Room

11:54 A.M. EDT

     MR. SIEWERT:   I have no announcements, so I'll take your questions.

     Q    -- estate tax bill down here yet?

     MR. SIEWERT:  I haven't seen the tractor pull up, but I don't think
we'll waste a lot of time thinking about it.  This is a bill that's too
expensive, that explodes in costs at a time when we can least afford it.
And I don't think you should have any illusions about what the President is
going to do.  He will veto it because we can provide more meaningful,
targeted estate tax relief that provides immediate benefits to farmers and
small businesses and doesn't give away the store the way the Republican
alternative does.

     Q    When?

     MR. SIEWERT:  We'll move on that very quickly.  We'll let you know
when we have an exact time and setting for that.  But that's something --

     Q    You mean today, though, or --

     MR. SIEWERT:  As I said, I don't think we'll waste a lot of time.  We
haven't seen it yet, so it's a little hard to make that call right now.

     Q    Another radio address veto?

     MR. SIEWERT:  I actually would not expect that.

     Q    I talked to you this morning about any plans for the SPR -- to
tap the SPR to -- did you find out anything?

     MR. SIEWERT:  As we've said for some time now, that we haven't taken
any option off the table.  But I don't have anything new to say on that

     Q    That was oblique.

     MR. SIEWERT:  It's actually what we've been saying all along, that we
haven't ruled anything out when it comes to the use of the strategic
petroleum reserve.

     Q    Jake, a good deal has been written about your leap to an
assumption about the source of the story that a grand jury had been named
to investigate the President.  Do you withdraw those comments you made last

     MR. SIEWERT:  Well, I don't know that we've seen the full story there.
We may never get the full story, given the way reporters work with their
sources.  I don't know that the Associated Press has ever fully clarified
the origin of that story.  But we're willing to admit error here if it
becomes clear that there was one, and only one, source for that story.

     But as I said to people over the weekend, whatever the source of that
information, there are a lot of questions that remain.  What exactly is the
independent counsel embarked on here, after $50 million of expenditure and
an 800-page report to Congress, proceedings in both Houses of Congress?
The American people are ready to put this behind them and they must be
wondering why the independent counsel can't do the same.

     Q    Jake, any concern about the durable goods drop that was announced
today, 12.4 percent?  Is it too far, too fast, is there any concern?

     MR. SIEWERT:  I know we heard that report this morning.  I know a lot
of these economic indicators are fluctuating quite a bit right now.  But we
look at long-term trends and we see the long-term trend of the economy is
still very sound.  We have moderate growth and relatively subdued inflation
and we feel the most important thing we can do is focus on the fundamentals
and that's what we're doing.  That's why the President has put such a heavy
emphasis on paying down the debt and using the surplus to
do everything we can to reduce the costs of government borrowing and free
up as much capital as possible for the private sector.

     Q    So it's a --

     MR. SIEWERT:  Well, as I said, we focus on the longer-term trends, and
that's what we'll continue to do.

     Q    Do you expect a departure statement before the President leaves

     MR. SIEWERT:  Not necessarily.  As I said, we may have something to
say about the estate tax in the next day or so, but I don't know that we'll
have a format to announce today.  I'll let you know if that does change.

     Q    -- after the Fox meeting?

     MR. CROWLEY:  We'll have a senior administration official come down at
1:30 p.m. or so.

     MR. SIEWERT:  All right.  We'll see you in a Abuja.

                           END                  11:58 A.M. EDT

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E