CLIP: 7141 John McCormack 03/23/1965 4:54P

CLIP: 7141 John McCormack 03/23/1965 4:54P

Tape: WH6503.11

Conversation: 7141

Date: March 23, 1965 4:54PM


John McCormack, Wilbur Cohen, and Carl Albert also participate in conversation, but not in this excerpt (8:49.55 to 10:41.99). The original full audio can be found here.


Mills: The only thing I’m concerned about – and I’m very frank about it – is that there’s about $450 million in this bill out of the general funds of the Treasury for which you haven’t budgeted your situation.

President Johnson: Yeah, but I’ll take care of that. I’ll do that. You see what I’ve done, Wilbur. This will not hold for the rest of the year, but the first eight months, by constant Cabinet pressure, by withholding, and just threatening, and ultimatum, and being meaner than you or Harry Byrd. I am under, this year, the first eight months, a billion eight hundred million under what you appropriated and what I said I’d spend. 

Mills: Well, that’s good.

President Johnson: Now, I think that I would at least get down to where I’ll be four, five hundred million under that. That’s number one. Number two, my deficit in the budget I sent you [in] January, is $1 billion under my deficit last year. I reduced the deficit $1 billion. Now I think that we can – when they ask me about, said do you want to put in four or five hundred million? What did I say about it? I said, “Well, you tell him we had an old judge in Texas one time. We called him Al Caldie – old Al Caldie Roberts. And he said, when they talked to him one time, that I might have used the Constitution, and he said, ‘Well, what’s the Constitution between friends?’” And I say, tell Wilbur that $400 million’s not going to separate us friends when it’s for health, when it’s for sickness because there’s a greater demand, and I know it, for this bill than all my other programs put together, and I know that. And it’ll last longer.