August 1997


August 29
"There are more vacancies in this administration than you'll find at Disneyland at the height of a hurricane."
--Paul C. Light, director of the Public Policy Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

August 28
"My position is that it can often be frustrating, pointless, and even counterproductive to try to force a group of top executives to become a team."
--Author Jon Katzenbach in his new book Teams at the Top.

August 27
"When agencies collect information about you, you have a statutory right to know how they will use this information."
--Ari Schwartz, OMB Watch information specialist, on federal Web sites and privacy concerns.

August 26
"It's not to say the INS is out there killing these people, but their policies are doing harm."
--Nathan Selzer of the Valley Coalition for Justice, an immigrant rights' organization, on a $3.5 million Border Patrol operation to stop illegal immigration across the Rio Grande.

August 25
"The IRS is by no means a perfect agency, but having to administer this tax system, they're starting with one hand tied behind their back."
--William Gale, a tax expert at the Brookings Institution.

August 22
"The debate is over. We know now that welfare reform works."
--President Clinton.
"The real test is whether people stay off. Is it too early to tell? You bet."
--Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.

August 21
"It is the best of times because the government has declared itself the leader in the area of equal employment opportunity. It is the worst of times because more African-American government employees are now, and are predicted to, remain concentrated at the lower levels of government employment."
--Blacks in Government National President Oscar Eason.

August 20
"While we are in the initial round of strategic plans, agencies had over three years since enactment of the Results Act to prepare them. Therefore, it is inexcusable for agencies to submit for Congressional consultations draft plans that do not even purport to address statutory elements."
--House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, in a letter to OMB Director Frank Raines.

August 19
" Let's say a federal agency forbids an employee from wearing a crucifix around his neck on the grounds that he is somehow harassing his coworkers. To whom can the employee complain? The agency's general counsel. In other words, the employee's only recourse for a violation by his employer is to complain to his employer."
--Family Research Council Legal Policy Director Cathy A. Cleaver, criticizing President Clinton's guidelines on religious freedom.

August 18
" There's the notion that real altruism comes from bureaucrats, that they are the moral equivalent of nuns and monks. That is one of the legacies that we must get rid of."
--Steve Forbes, in remarks to the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

August 15
"It is an unwise, unaccountable, and probably unconstitutional transfer of public authority."
--Brookings Scholar Donald F. Kettl, on a plan to restructure the IRS that would include an oversight board of private sector managers.

August 14
"If we were now fighting, that could consume months, even years. That would damn this department."
--HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, on an agreement he reached with the American Federation of Government Employees on how to downsize the department.

August 13
"I didn't want them treated as somehow they had been declared redundant and that they didn't really have a place in the agency or that they had some kind of contagious disease. We dealt with them as if there'd been a death in a family."
--OPM Director James King on how his agency helped employees who were laid off.

August 12
"Bracket creep. . . . And people taking seriously the inflated titles that they've been given."
--White House Spokesman Mike McCurry, on why members of the president's staff have overused their travel privileges.

August 11
"A year from today, every federal agency and office building, every visitor's center at every national park, every facility owned or leased by the executive branch must be smoke-free."
--President Bill Clinton on the executive order that bans smoking in federal government buildings.

August 6
"If this works, I'll make you Postmaster General."
--Harrison Ford as President James Marshall in Air Force One, to an aide who comes up with an ingenious idea to contact the White House from the hijacked plane.

August 5
"Risking lung cancer or heart disease shouldn't be a sacrifice a person should have to make for career advancement."
--Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on the benefits of President Clinton's executive order to ban smoking on federal property.

August 4
"You don't hire a military as a social laboratory."
--House Speaker Newt Gingrich, arguing that a new commission should be set up to study sex-related issues in the armed services.

August 1
"Diplomats are supposed to stop fights, not start them. I mean, Jeez!"
--Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., on would-be ambassador to Mexico William Weld's squabbles with Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C.

The Quote/Unquote Archive

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec