Radio Address to the Nation on the Resignation of Howard Baker as Chief of Staff to the President and the Administration's Agenda
My fellow Americans:
Fourth of July weekend, we Americans will, as we do each year at this time,
raise Old Glory a little higher, cheer fireworks, and remember the blessing we
share as citizens of this great and free land. And as we celebrate our independence
and pause to give thanks for our liberty, let us also remember that the
freedoms we cherish are never more than a generation away from extinction. It's
up to each of us to preserve, protect, and defend
One man who has contributed more than his share
to our country left government service this week. For a year and a half,
Howard Baker has been my Chief of Staff here at the White House. He's served
with great distinction, helping me guide important legislation through
Congress, as well as helping me at the summits with Mr. Gorbachev in
In the months ahead I'll be helped by a new Chief of Staff, Kenneth Duberstein. It won't be a big change for Ken. He's moving from his old office, where he's worked as the number two man on my staff and as Howard's partner since early last year, to the one next door. And that's good, because we won't have time just to settle in.
Yes, we have a lot of work to do and a big agenda that we got down to business on this week. On Friday, with Members of Congress looking on, I signed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act into law. At the ceremony, I noted that almost a year and a half ago I had said we should remove a financial specter facing our older Americans: the fear of an illness requiring acute care so expensive that it can result in having to choose between bankruptcy and death. Shortly after that, our administration submitted a bill to Congress to help free the elderly from the fear of catastrophic illness. Now a version of that bill is law. As I said Friday, we still must face challenges if this law, as Congress finally enacted it, is to work; but we can all be grateful that a burden has been lifted from the shoulders and minds of the elderly all over America.
the way, as I signed the Catastrophic Coverage Act into law, I couldn't help
thinking how much we Americans have done in the last few years. Today our
economy is strong and growing. Our belief in peace through strength, which we
kept despite many protests in Congress and elsewhere, is paying off. The first
treaty ever to eliminate an entire class of
despite these accomplishments, I believe our eyes should be on the future and
the accomplishments we have still to achieve. For example, congressional
approval of the free trade agreement that we negotiated with
also owe it to our children to put the illegal drug trade out of business.
That's why when I visited
our nation's agenda is full, whether it's keeping our defenses strong or
cutting unnecessary spending; getting Congress to pass a welfare reform bill
that requires work; and trade legislation that will open, not close, markets;
or helping freedom fighters around the world. But that's what democracy is all
about -- a big agenda,
So, happy Fourth of July! And until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President
spoke at from