[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1993, Book I)]
[February 10, 1993]
[Pages 67-69]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at a Meeting With Cabinet Members
February 10, 1993

    The President. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to sign these 
Executive orders, and then I will go over to the microphone and make a 
statement about each one.
    The first order requires by attrition a reduction in Federal 
positions of 100,000. The second order is a reduction in the 
administrative costs of the present Federal Government by 3 percent per 
year on average leading up to 5 percent in the 4th year of this 4-year 
term and abolishing several boards and commissions. The third order 
deals with the commissions.
    These are memoranda to the Department heads. One deals with perks; 
one deals with Government vehicles; one deals with aircraft.

[At this point, the President signed the documents.]

    Members of the Cabinet and staff, tonight I will be going to 
Michigan and the Vice President will be going to California to hold town 
meetings with American citizens to talk to them about the economic 
problems and the budget mess that we have inherited and the priorities 
and principles we intend to bring to our efforts to change the country 
and bring about recovery.
    The people demand and deserve an active Government on their side. 
But they don't want a Government that wastes money, a Government that 
costs more and does less. They voted for change. They wanted a literal 
revolution in the way Government operates, and now you and I must 
    Yesterday I announced the reorganization of the White House staff 
that will reduce our staff by 25 percent and cut costs by $10 million 
per year. Today I have called you, the Members of the Cabinet, together 
to take the next step, to begin the overhaul of Government as a whole. 
The steps we're taking today will save the American taxpayer $9 billion. 
They won't be easy, but they will make a difference. We have an 
obligation and an opportunity to change the way Government works and to 
show that Government can do more with less.
    Our Government needs change. For the last dozen years I've heard our 
leaders call loudly for less Government while giving people more 
Government and, perhaps more importantly, while giving almost no 
attention to better or different Government, to new ways in which 
partnerships could be made with people in the private sector and in 
State and local governments. Too often in the last decade people have 
rushed to defend the power of the few at the top and privileges of the 
elite, not just in the private sector but also in Government. Too often 
when economic security of ordinary Americans has been threatened, 
Government has sat still, refused to lead; not even follow, just get in 
the way. That era has come to an end with our coming to office.
    Today the Cabinet and I are taking several steps to show that we 
intend to change the way that Government works. But I want to make it 
clear this is only a beginning, not the end of the process.
    First, I am ordering a reduction of the Federal bureaucracy by at 
least 100,000 positions over the next 4 years. At least 10 percent of 
these cuts must come from senior management. The cuts can come from 
attrition; I see no need

[[Page 68]]

for layoffs. These cuts will make our Government more efficient and more 
effective. The Government is full of dedicated people whose hard work is 
being choked off by our own bureaucracy.
    Second, I'm ordering each Federal department and agency to reduce 
its administrative, as opposed to its program, costs by 12 percent over 
the next 4 years. With better planning and innovation we can make better 
use of the money we already have. In many agencies overhead is too high, 
redtape is too thick, and the day-to-day operations of the agencies have 
not been reexamined in a very long time. I believe Government can both 
care about people and be careful with their money.
    Third, I am today ordering the elimination of hundreds of 
unproductive and duplicative advisory commissions that have spread 
across this Government like kudzu. I'm asking the Office of Management 
and Budget to eliminate at least one-third of the 700 advisory boards 
and commissions that were not created by Congress. From now on agencies 
and departments will not be allowed to create new commissions without 
permission from OMB. We simply cannot allow the Federal bureaucracy to 
beget more bureaucracy.
    Finally, we have to shrink the gulf between Government and the 
average citizen. Too often success in Washington is measured not by 
results but by perks. Today I've issued three directives that will begin 
to limit perks and privileges that have driven a wedge between 
Washington and the public: First, an end to widespread use of home-to-
office limousines by top officials and a reduction in the limousine 
fleets overall by half. Second, I'm tightening the rules for using 
Government airplanes and ordering an inventory of the airplane fleet 
with an eye toward eliminating unnecessary planes. Many people believe 
that there are substantial savings here. Finally, I'm ordering the 
elimination of such perks as below-cost executive dining rooms and free 
membership in private health clubs.
    However, I do want to say to you, as I just told the Cabinet before 
we came in, this administration was also elected to provide a health 
care plan for the American people, including setting a good example. And 
one of the ways I want to do that is to keep people healthier. So, I 
will also encourage every Government agency to provide health facilities 
in any building of any size, as long as they are provided on equal terms 
to all employees from the building maintenance people to the Secretary 
of the Department.
    These Executive orders are just a beginning, but they're a good 
beginning. We will now move on to really try to find ways to reinvent 
the way Government works and relates to people: how we can empower 
people more and entitle them less, how we can have more effective 
partnerships with the private sector and with State and local 
government, how we can find some of the dramatic productivity 
innovations that have characterized our finest companies over the last 
few years.
    I'd like to now call upon a few of our Cabinet Secretaries to 
discuss some of the things that they have been doing in their agencies, 
beginning with the Labor Secretary, Secretary Reich.

[At this point, Secretary Reich discussed how eliminating executive 
perks improves management-labor relations.]

    The President. Secretary O'Leary.

[Secretary O'Leary discussed the example set by staff reductions in her 
own office.]

    The President. I also appreciate what you've done to make the 
building more accessible over there.
    Secretary O'Leary. Thank you.
    The President. Secretary Cisneros.

[Secretary Cisneros discussed HUD cost-cutting measures and management 
improvement efforts.]

    The President. Secretary Babbitt.

[Secretary Babbitt discussed Interior Department management improvement 
and elimination of perks.]

    The President. Well, thank you. One of us has had a big problem to 
deal with in the last few days, and my impression is that he's done 
quite well. I'd like to ask Secretary Espy just to give a report about 
the crisis he's been dealing with and what his recommendation has been.

[Secretary Espy discussed plans for improvement of the meat inspection 
program in response to reported cases of E. coli bacterial 

    The President. Anybody else like to be heard?


    Q. Mr. President, changing the subject, since

[[Page 69]]

Secretary Christopher is going to talk about Bosnia this afternoon, 
could you at least tell us are U.S. troops a part of the initiative that 
will be unveiled this afternoon?
    The President. I think I should let Secretary Christopher give his 
speech first. We have all worked very hard on this Bosnia policy ever 
since we took office and even before, trying to find a way to do more 
but do it with the support of our allies and through the United Nations. 
I think I'll let him give his speech, and then I'll be glad to answer 
questions about the policies after he does.
    Q. Do you think the public----
    The President. I think the public will support the policy that he 
will outline today, yes. I think they will want us to do more and want 
us to do it in a prudent way. And I think that they will support this 

Note: The President spoke at 10:33 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White 
House. The Executive orders are listed in Appendix D at the end of this