[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book II)]
[October 1, 1994]
[Pages 1676-1678]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
October 1, 1994

    Good morning. As we come to the end of this congressional session in 
1994, it's clearer than ever that Americans still want to change the way 
Washington works, and they should.
    We've worked hard here for 20 months to make sure Government 
responds to ordinary citizens, not to organized pressure groups; 
responds to the national interests, not narrow interests. And we've made 
some good progress, but there's still a lot more work to do.
    Since I became President, we fought to change the culture of our 
Capital City. We first imposed the toughest ethics rules ever on our own 
officials. Then we moved to close the tax loopholes that lets lobbyists 
deduct the costs of their activities. And then our initiative to 
reinvent Government, led by the Vice President, is already making 
progress in making Government work better and cost less. We're cutting 
the size of the Federal Government by 270,000, to its lowest level since 
John Kennedy was President. Already in our 20 months, there are 70,000 
fewer people on the Federal payroll. And we're giving every dime of the 
money we save in reducing the Federal payroll back to local communities 
to fight crime. We've also slashed regulations and bureaucracy, speeded 
up the time Small Business Administration loans get answered. We've 
changed the way Government buys products to make it cheaper and more

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efficient. We've given 17 States permission to change the rules so they 
can move more folks from welfare to work.
    Despite all these steps forward, our political system is still too 
often an obstacle to change, not an instrument of progress. One big 
reason is that here in Washington there are some 80,000 paid lobbyists 
who work to influence the Government. In the last year, we've certainly 
seen how well-organized, lavishly funded campaigns by people protecting 
their narrow interests work.
    The gun lobby nearly derailed the crime bill strongly supported by 
police and prosecutors, just because it banned 19 assault weapons from 
our streets, weapons designed only to kill people, and in spite of the 
fact that the crime bill protected 650 hunting and sporting weapons from 
any Federal restrictions.
    The foes of health care reform have spent $300 million, by most 
estimates, to oppose change. By all accounts, this was the most intense 
lobbying campaign in history. But rest assured, we're not giving up on 
our fight for health care reform, for universal coverage, cost controls, 
and protecting small businesses and the people who have health insurance 
now from losing it.
    This week we're working to pass a major reform bill that Congress 
still has time to act on, a bill that will go a long way toward taking 
Government out of the hands of the influence industry. The legislation, 
for the first time ever, would require lobbyists to fully disclose who 
they work for, how much they're paid, and what they're seeking to get 
out of Government. That's not all it does. It also prevents lobbyists 
from buying Members of Congress meals, gifts, or vacations. All in all, 
it's very tough, and it will change the way Washington does business.
    Not surprisingly, a lot of Washington's lobbyists don't like this 
bill very much. It takes away their special access and puts ordinary 
people on a more equal footing. And now at the last minute, some are 
trying to defeat lobby reform with bogus arguments.
    Last Thursday, the House of Representatives stood up to intense 
pressure and passed lobby reform by a large margin. This week, it's the 
Senate's turn. The lobbyists and their allies will throw up a lot of 
rhetoric about how this bill hurts ordinary people. Don't you believe 
it. It's bad news for people who use paid professional lobbyists to 
influence legislation and don't want you to know what they're doing. 
That's all it does, and that's why the Senate should pass it 
    I've fought for reforms like this my entire public career. When I 
was Governor of Arkansas, after years of trying to pass lobby reform 
through the legislature, I went to the people of my State, and we passed 
a tough bill by a popular vote. I advocated this measure when I ran for 
President, and I've worked for it ever since. I am confident it will 
become law.
    There's another bill Congress should pass before it goes home. This 
would apply the laws Congress passes to govern the rest of America to 
Congress itself. That's just common sense, and it's only fair. But 
believe it or not, it doesn't always hold up today. The people who make 
laws for the private sector should be willing to live under the laws 
they make. That's what this law would require.
    Even these important changes, however, won't complete the task of 
political reform. The way we fund campaigns gives too much power to 
special interests and too often drowns out the voice of the people. We 
had a good chance to change that. But yesterday, once more, a Senate 
filibuster defeated campaign finance reform. I was very disappointed by 
this result. The campaign finance reform bill was a strong bill. It gave 
real reform. It would have limited spending in congressional races, 
curbed the political action committees, opened the airwaves to honest 
debate, and closed the so-called soft money loophole in our Presidential 
election system.
    The fight for campaign reform isn't over, either. We'll return to it 
next year with redoubled determination to get this job done. The 
American people demand it.
    Since I became President, we've made real progress in turning our 
country around, in getting our economic house in order, fighting crime, 
making Government work for ordinary people. Our comprehensive economic 
strategy cut our deficit drastically and for 3 years in a row for the 
first time since Mr. Truman was President. We've expanded trade with 
Mexico, negotiated a worldwide trade agreement, improved the education 
and training of our work force. We've got 4.3 million new jobs in just 
20 months, and our country's rated the most productive in the world for 
the first time in 9 years. We've also enacted a tough crime bill. And 
we've begun with reinventing Government,

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the effort to make Government work for ordinary people.
    But to finish this work, we need to keep changing the way Government 
does the people's business. Let's keep forward in the fight for 
political reform. We need your help on that.
    Thanks very much.

Note: The address was recorded at 3:36 p.m. on September 30 in the 
Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on October