Supporting Hispanic Americans
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
Working on Behalf of the Hispanic Community
Expanding Economic Opportunity
Moving From Record Deficits to Record Surplus. In 1992, the deficit was $290 billion, a record dollar high. In 2000, we have a projected budget surplus of at least $230 billion -- the third consecutive surplus and the largest surplus ever, even after adjusting for inflation. This is the first time we have had three surpluses in a row in more than 50 years.
More Than 22 Million New Jobs. 22.1 million new jobs have been created since 1993, the most jobs ever created under a single Administration -- and more new jobs than Presidents Reagan and Bush created during their three terms. 92 percent (20 million) of the new jobs have been created in the private sector, the highest percentage in 50 years. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the economy has added an average of 248,000 jobs per month, the highest under any President. This compares to 52,000 per month under President Bush and 167,000 per month under President Reagan. [National Economic Council, 6/00]
Record-Low Unemployment Rate. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the Hispanic unemployment rate has dropped from 11.6 percent in 1992 to 6.4 percent in 1999 -- the lowest annual level ever recorded. Overall unemployment is down from 7.5 percent in 1992 to 4.1 percent today, the lowest rate in 30 years.
Median Income of Hispanic Households at Highest Level on Record. In 1999, the median income for Hispanic households was $30,735, the highest ever recorded. Median income for Hispanic households rose 4.8 percent in 1998 alone, higher than the rate of increase for the overall population, which was 3.5 percent.
Real Wages Are Rising for Hispanics. Median weekly earnings rose 3.8 percent between 1996 and 1998, after adjusting for inflation.
Tax Cuts for Working Families. President Clinton's 1993 Economic Plan provided tax cuts to 15 million hard-pressed working families by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The average family with two children who received the EITC received a tax cut of $1,026. In 1997, the EITC lifted more than 1.2 million Hispanics out of poverty. This year the President has proposed expanding the EITC to provide tax relief to 6.8 million additional working families.
The Hispanic Poverty Rate Dropped to Lowest Level Since 1979. In 1999, the Hispanic poverty rate dropped from 25.6 percent to 22.8 percent -- the lowest level since 1979. Poverty for Hispanics declined by 2.8 percentage points (or 10.9 percent) from 1998, which is the largest one-year percentage point decline ever recorded. While there is still more work to do, Hispanic poverty has declined by 25.5 percent since 1993. The Hispanic child poverty rate fell from 34.4 percent to 30.3 percent (or 12 percent) since 1998, and has fallen by 26 percent since 1993.
Increased the Minimum Wage. The President raised the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour, increasing the wages of 1.6 million Hispanic workers. This year, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have called on Congress to pass an additional $1.00 per hour increase in the minimum wage.
Fighting for Paycheck Equity. The President and Vice President have called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination. This year, the President has proposed a $27 million initiative to help the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and the Labor Department fight wage discrimination. In 1999, the median weekly earnings of Hispanic women represented only 56 percent of the median weekly earnings for all men.
Saving Social Security. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have coupled fiscal discipline with a commitment to preserve and protect Social Security. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the life of the Social Security trust fund has been extended to 2037. President Clinton has proposed extending the program's solvency to at least 2054 by paying down the national debt and dedicating the interest savings to Social Security. In April 2000, President Clinton signed legislation to eliminate the confusing and out-dated Retirement Earnings Test in order to encourage work and earnings for older Americans. These steps would be a down payment on truly saving Social Security.
Encouraging Investment in Undeserved Communities with the New Markets Initiative. President Clinton's New Markets Initiative will help bring economic development and renewal to communities that have not benefited from the soaring economy by spurring more than $22 billion in new investment in urban and rural areas. On July 25, 2000, the House passed the President's New Markets Initiative in a historic bipartisan agreement that included extension and expansion of Empowerment Zones, and an increase in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The President has taken three New Markets Tours of undeserved communities, which have helped generate more than $1 billion in private sector investment commitments.
Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. Spurring economic development in distressed communities, the Clinton-Gore Administration has created 31 Empowerment Zones and more than 100 Enterprise Communities, including 50 rural ECs, which are creating new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. This would have a dramatic effect in the areas with high unemployment, weak economies, and shortages of affordable housing and other problems. The President won $70 million in funding for Rural and Urban Empowerment Zones in FY 2000 -- after Congress initially provided no funding. On July 25, 2000, the House passed a bipartisan agreement that would extend and expand the incentives in the existing EZs, as well as create nine new Round 3 Empowerment Zones. The Administration's agreement with Speaker Hastert also includes a first-time commitment for additional funding for Round 2 EZs.
Expanding Access to Capital with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). Proposed and signed into law by the President in 1994, the CDFI Fund, through grants, loans and equity investments, is helping to create a network of community development financial institutions in distressed areas across the United States. In FY 1999, funding was increased 19 percent to $95 million. President Clinton successfully worked to maintain that investment in FY 2000. This year, the President is proposing $125 million.
Closing the Digital Divide. Increasing access to technology and bridging the digital divide has been a top priority for President Clinton and Vice President Gore. To help make access to computers and the Internet as universal as the telephone, the Clinton-Gore Administration is proposing a comprehensive initiative to bridge the digital divide and create new opportunity for all Americans. Their FY 2001 budget includes proposals to: broaden access to technologies such as computers, the Internet, and high-speed networks; provide people with the skilled teachers and the training they need to master the information economy; and promote online content and applications that will help empower all Americans to use new technologies to their fullest potential. In December 1999, President Clinton directed the Cabinet to take specific actions to close the digital divide, such as expanding Community Technology Centers in low-income neighborhoods. He also announced the formation of the Digital Opportunity Partnership, an alliance between the private sector and civil and human rights organizations to bring high technology to nonprofit organizations.
Nearly Three Times the Number of Small Business Loans. Between 1993 and 2000 the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved nearly 25,000 loans to Hispanic entrepreneurs under the 7(a), 504, and Microloan programs [as of 3/17/00]. In 1999 alone, the SBA granted nearly 4,000 loans, worth $750.2 million, to Hispanic small business owners -- nearly three times the number of loans granted in 1992.
Supporting Minority Business Communities and Increasing Access to Capital. Building on the efforts of the SBA, Vice President Gore unveiled aggressive plans to increase lending and business services to the Hispanic and African American business communities nationwide. SBA has entered partnership agreements with national leadership organizations, and engaged its national network of field offices and resources in the effort. SBA also licensed the first Hispanic-managed venture capital fund. In addition, the Vice President announced an unprecedented agreement between SBA and the "Big Three" U.S. automakers to increase subcontracting awards to minority businesses by nearly $3 billion over the next three years -- a 50 percent increase over current levels.
Ensuring Minority Business Owners Have a Fair Opportunity to Compete. The President signed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century into law on June 9, 1998. The Act protects the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, a program that ensures that minority and women-owned businesses have an opportunity to compete for transportation projects. The Administration helped defeat an amendment to the House version of this bill that would have eliminated the DBE Program. In a different measure, the President also approved the creation of a new program to target assistance to minority-owned businesses in industries that continue to reflect the effects of discrimination. As a result, thousands of minority-owned businesses will be able to compete more effectively for government contracts.
Fostering Economic Development in the Southwest Border Region. In May 1999, President Clinton created the Interagency Task Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest Border to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to raise the standard of living in the Southwest Border region – one of the most economically distressed areas of the country. The Task Force's accomplishments in the past year include the launch of a pilot program emphasizing a coordinated federal response to the needs of highly distressed border communities, and the development of new initiatives and recommendations to address issues ranging from capital access, small business development and job training to transportation infrastructure, housing and law enforcement. These efforts will serve as the basis for longer-term strategies that foster economic growth along the 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexican border, and build on the Clinton-Gore Administration's work to widen the circle of economic opportunity to include all Americans.
Increasing Lending to Minority Farmers. The Agriculture Department is strengthening programs and increasing outreach targeted to underserved communities, including increasing its lending to minority and women producers. In FY 1992, USDA made 961 loans worth $53.9 million to minority farmers. In FY 1999, that increased to 4,005 loans worth $296 million. [1999 Annual Report of the Secretary of Agriculture; Department of Agriculture]
Creating New Tools to Help Families Move from Welfare to Work. Since enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law, millions of families have moved from welfare to work. With the President's leadership, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act included $3 billion to move long-term welfare recipients and low-income non-custodial fathers into jobs. To fully implement this initiative, the President's FY 2001 budget allows grantees an additional two years to spend Welfare-to-Work funds. It also proposes $255 million for Fathers Work/Families Win grants to promote responsible fatherhood and support working families. The Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit provides tax incentives to encourage businesses to hire long-term welfare recipients. The President's Access to Jobs initiative helps communities design innovative transportation solutions, such as van services, to help former welfare recipients and other low-income workers get to work, and this year the President is proposing $150 million for this initiative, double last year's level. President Clinton has secured 110,000 new housing vouchers in the last two years to help welfare recipients and hard-pressed working families move closer to job opportunities, and this year he is proposing $690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers.
Fighting for Equal Opportunity
Building One America. The President has led the nation in an effort to become One America in the 21st Century: a place where we respect others' differences and, at the same time, embrace the common values that unite us. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson served on the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race, which the President charged with overseeing this effort. The President, the Administration and the Advisory Board were actively involved in public outreach efforts to engage Americans across the nation in this historic effort. One of the critical elements of the President's Initiative on Race was identifying, highlighting and sharing with the nation promising local and national efforts to promote racial reconciliation. President Clinton appointed Robert B. (Ben) Johnson as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office on the President's Initiative for One America, a new office the President created to follow up on the work of his Initiative on Race. The President's FY 2001 budget includes $5 million for One America dialogues to promote and facilitate discussions on racial diversity and understanding.
An Administration that Looks Like One America. The President has appointed the most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history, and has appointed more Hispanics than any other President. Hispanic Americans make up seven percent of Senate confirmed appointments, including Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and Small Business Administrator Aida Alvarez.
Most Hispanic Judicial Nominees In History. The President has appointed the most diverse group of judges in American history, garnering the highest percentage of top ABA ratings in nearly 40 years. Six percent of all President Clinton's judicial appointments are Hispanics, the largest number in history, including the Honorable Richard Paez, Judge, Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; the Honorable Jose Cabranes, Judge, Second Circuit U.S. Circuit Court; the Honorable Julio Fuentes, Judge, Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; the Honorable Carlos Moreno, Judge, Central District of California, U.S. District Court; and the Honorable Hilda Tagle, Judge, Southern District of Texas, U.S. District Court.
Senior Level Administration Appointments. President Clinton has appointed more Hispanics to senior level positions than any President in American history. Nine percent of Presidential appointments, including boards and commissions, are held by Hispanics. These Presidential appointees include Louis Caldera, Secretary of the Army; Edward Romero, Ambassador to Spain, George Muñoz , President of Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Norma Cantu, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education; Saul Ramirez, Jr., Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary; Sylvia Baca, Assistant Secretary-Designate, Department of Interior; Irasema Garza, Director, Department of Labor Women's Bureau; Ida L. Castro, Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Patricia T. Montoya, Commissioner for Children, Youth & Families at the Department of Health and Human Services; and John U. Sepulveda, Deputy Director at the Office of Personnel Management. White House appointees include: Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff Maria Echaveste and Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Mickey Ibarra.
Opposed California Prop. 209 and Similar Measures. The Clinton-Gore Administration strongly opposes state and local initiatives to eliminate affirmative action programs that expand opportunities for African Americans and others. The Administration filed amicus briefs opposing Proposition 209 in California, which currently prohibits state affirmative action programs. The Administration opposed similar initiatives in Houston, which was defeated, and Washington. In all these cases, representatives of the administration spoke out strongly against these initiatives as unfair and a barrier to equality.
Ordered an Assessment of Affirmative Action Programs. The President ordered a comprehensive review of the government's affirmative action programs which concluded that affirmative action is still an effective and important tool to expand educational and economic opportunity to all Americans. This review of federal affirmative action programs has helped to ensure that these programs are fair and effective and that they can survive legal challenges. As a result, programs that benefit Hispanics, including students, working men and women, and business owners, remain in effect and are more likely to be upheld by the courts.
Working to Expand Civil Rights Enforcement. In FY 2000, the President won a 19 percent increase in funding for federal civil rights enforcement, including $82 million for the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department. And this year, President Clinton has proposed $695 million for civil rights enforcement -- a 13 percent increase -- to prosecute criminal civil rights cases (including hate crimes and police misconduct), enforce the American with Disabilities Act, pursue Equal Employment Opportunity Commission employment actions and prevent housing discrimination, and other civil rights enforcement efforts.
Working to Ensure Fairness and Remove Barriers to High Quality Education. The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education is working to eliminate discriminatory educational practices within schools that contribute to deficiencies in minority student achievement. These priorities included the inappropriate placement of minority students in special education, limited access of minority students to challenging curricula and programs such as gifted and honors classes and the lack of comparable resources.
Ensuring Election Fairness. The Clinton-Gore Administration defended racially fair redistricting plans against claims that they were unconstitutional and prevented election day discrimination against minority voters and voter intimidation and harassment by monitoring polling place activities in a record number of states and counties. Continued enforcement efforts to ensure that citizens who rely on Spanish have the same opportunities to participate in voting-related activities as English-speaking voters.
Breaking Down Language Barriers. On August 11, 2000, the President issued an Executive order to ensure that people with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to Federal services. The Executive Order directs Federal agencies to set a plan to improve the language-accessibility of their programs by December 11, 2000.
Oppose English-Only Legislation. The Clinton-Gore Administration strongly opposed legislation to make English the official language of the United States, which would have jeopardized services and programs for non-English speakers and jeopardized assistance to the tens of thousands of new immigrants and others seeking to learn English as adults.
Increasing Voter Registration. Since 1995, the National Voter Registration Act or "Motor Voter" law has registered nearly 28 million new voters and made voting easier for millions more. [FEC, 6/99; FEC, 6/97]
Opposed California Proposition 187. The Administration opposed California's Proposition 187, which would have made illegal immigrants ineligible for public school education at all levels and ineligible for public health care services.
Doubling the Number of Fair Housing Enforcement Actions. To respond to the increase in reported cases of serious fair housing violations; HUD has committed $37 million to 67 fair housing centers around the country to assist in fighting housing discrimination. In FY 2000, the President won $44 million to fight housing discrimination, which includes $6 million to continue the audit-based fair housing enforcement initiative started last year. The audit will include 3,000 to 5,000 tests for housing discrimination. HUD will provide funds to local non-profit groups and enforcement agencies to monitor and act against housing discrimination. The Clinton-Gore Administration filed 3,660 cases between 1993 and June 2000 to enforce fair housing laws -- more than any other Administration, with double number the cases in the President's second term than in the first. For instance, the Administration desegregated a Vidor, Texas, public housing complex and ordered a Mississippi bank to implement remedial lending plans for minority customers who were unfairly denied loans by the bank.
Eliminated Discriminatory "Redlining" Practices. The Clinton-Gore Administration negotiated agreements with health care agencies to eliminate discriminatory "redlining" practices denying home health care services based on residential location.
Working to Ensure a Fair, Accurate and Complete Census. The Clinton-Gore Administration is working to ensure that Census 2000 is as accurate as possible using the best, most up-to-date scientific methods as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. The 1990 Census had an undercount of 8.4 million and 5 percent of Hispanics across the nation were not counted. A fair and accurate Census is a fundamental part of a representative democracy and is the basis for providing equality under the law. The President is determined to have a fair and full count in 2000, and he is announcing new steps to encourage all Americans to participate in Census 2000. The President is launching a Census in Schools Challenge, to ensure that children are counted and educate both students and parents; reiterating that census information is strictly confidential; and directing federal agencies to step up activities in support of the Census.
Welcoming New Americans. Since 1993, the United States has welcomed nearly 4.4 million new American citizens. Faced with this unprecedented number of applications, the Clinton-Gore Administration undertook an initiative that has significantly reduced the backlog of citizenship applications and is restoring timely processing while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the process. The INS is on track to meet its goal of reducing this backlog by completing 1.3 million applications this fiscal year while maintaining the highest levels of quality and integrity.
Ensuring Consistency and Efficiency in the Current Naturalization System. On July 4, 2000, the President directed the INS to develop a plan to redesign and standardize the current citizenship testing process. Currently, different areas of the country use testing methods and standards for reading and writing of the English language and U.S. history and government. This plan will help guarantee a consistent test and testing process is available and administered nationwide.
English Literacy/Civics Initiative. The Clinton-Gore FY 2001 budget includes $75 million for the English Language/Civics Initiative -- a nearly $50 million increase to help an additional estimated 250,000 limited English proficient (LEP) individuals. This program helps states and communities provide LEP individuals with expanded access to quality English-language instruction linked to civics and life skills instruction, including understanding the U.S. government system, the public education system, the workplace, and other key institutions of American life.
Seeking Fairness for Immigrants. The President is urging Congress to pass legislation to restructure the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to improve services, to ensure equitable treatment of Central American and Haitian migrants under immigration laws, to allow long-term migrants to adjust their immigration status, and to correct the most egregious impacts of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.
Defended Immigrant Rights. The Clinton-Gore Administration defeated legislative efforts that would have significantly eroded health care for immigrants. The bipartisan agreement strengthened the sponsorship requirement while preserving the basic ability of families to reunify.
Restoring Benefits to Legal Immigrants. The President believes that legal immigrants should have the same economic opportunity, and bear the same responsibility, as other members of society. In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Agricultural Research Act of 1998, the President fought for and succeeded in reversing unfair cuts in benefits to legal immigrants. The FY 2001 budget builds on the Administration's progress of restoring these important benefits by providing $2.5 billion over five years to allow states to provide health care to certain legal immigrant children and their families and pregnant women, to restore SSI eligibility to legal immigrants with disabilities, and to restore Food Stamp eligibility to certain aged immigrants and to legal immigrants who live in a household with Food Stamp eligible children.
Assuring Families Access to Health Care and Other Benefits. In May 1999, the Vice President announced new actions to assure families that enrolling in Medicaid or the new Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and receiving other critical benefits, such as school lunch and child care services, will not affect their immigration status. The new Department of Justice regulation clarifies a widespread misconception that has deterred eligible populations from enrolling in these programs and undermined the nation's public health. In addition, the Vice President directed Federal agencies to send guidance to their field offices, program grantees and to work with community organizations to educate Americans about this new policy. Recently, the Administration issued new guidance to states to ensure that immigrant families are not deterred from applying for benefits for persons in their household who are eligible to receive such benefits. Also, the Administration has launched an initiative to break down language barriers to ensure that individuals with limited English skills can meaningfully access federal and federally-assisted programs as required by the Civil Rights Act.
Investing in Education
Hispanic Education Action Plan. As part of the Administration's commitment to raising the educational outcomes of Latino youth, the President proposed significant increases to programs within the Hispanic Education Action Plan to help Latinos excel academically, graduate from high school, go on to college, and continue on the path to life-long learning. The FY01 budget includes increases of $823 million for programs that enhance educational opportunity for Latinos.
Improving Hispanic Student Achievement. In June 2000, President Clinton hosted a White House Strategy Session on Improving Hispanic Student Achievement, underscoring the need for a national effort to close the achievement gap between Hispanic students and their peers. The session built upon the Administration's long-standing efforts, led by Vice President Gore, to increase funding for Hispanic education programs, and followed up on the White House Convening of Latino Youth hosted by the First Lady in 1999. At the Strategy Session, the President called for a national commitment to accomplish five major goals to improve Hispanic achievement over the next decade. He also announced the formation of the 2010 Alliance a partnership created in response to his challenge to achieve these goals over the next decade. Alliance partners will work toward meeting the President's goals with new and expanded initiatives including outreach campaigns and internship opportunities. [White House Fact Sheet, 6/15/00]
More High-Quality Teachers with Smaller Class Sizes. The Clinton-Gore Administration won a second installment of $1.3 billion for the President's plan to hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades, when children learn to read and master the basic skills. Already, 29,000 teachers have been hired through this initiative. This year's budget provides $1.75 billion, a $450 million increase -- enough to fund nearly 49,000 teachers. Research shows that minorities, and low-income students in particular, benefit academically from smaller classes.
Providing Early Education to Nearly 900,000 Children with Head Start. The President and Vice President have expanded Head Start funding by 90 percent since 1993. Head Start will reach approximately 880,000 low-income children in FY 2000 and, with the President's proposed increase for the program, will be on the way to reaching the President's goal of serving 1 million children and their families by the year 2002. The Administration also created Early Head Start, bringing Head Start's successful comprehensive services to families with children ages zero to three, and set high quality standards for both programs.
Teaching Every Child to Read by the 3rd Grade. The President challenged all Americans to unite to ensure that every child can read well and independently by the third grade. More than 1,400 colleges and universities joined the President's America Reads Challenge, and 26,700 college work-study students now serve as reading tutors to help every child to read well and independently by the third grade. [Education Department, "Challenging the Status Quo: The Education Record, 1993-2000," 4/00]
Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for 850,000 Students Each Year. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provides enriching after-school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities in FY 2000. Extended learning time has not only been shown to increase achievement in reading and math, but to decrease youth violence and drug use. Funding for this program more than doubled from FY 1999 to FY 2000. For FY 2001, the President's budget calls on Congress to invest $1 billion in the 21st Century Program and to ensure that all children in failing schools have access to quality after-school and summer school opportunities. This proposal will double funding and nearly triple the number of students served to 2.5 million.
Expanding Access to Education Technology. With the Vice President's leadership, the Clinton-Gore Administration has made increasing access to technology a top priority. The President and Vice President created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to help connect every school to the Internet increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom and provide technology training for teachers. They increased overall investments in educational technology from $23 million in 1993 to $769 million in FY 2000, and tripled funding for Community Technology Centers to reach at least 120 low-income communities. Through the E-rate program, they secured low-cost connections to the Internet for schools, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals, benefiting more than 80 percent of America's public schools. They also increased investment in education research to ensure all children benefit from educational technology. In 1999, 95 percent of public schools were connected to the Internet -- up from just 35 percent in 1994.
Placing High-Quality Teachers in Underserved Areas. President Clinton and Vice President Gore won $98 million in the FY 2000 budget to enhance teacher quality and attract teachers to high need, high poverty school districts. This year, the President and Vice President have proposed a new $1 billion teacher quality plan to recruit, train and reward good teachers. The Teaching to High Standards Initiative includes a Hometown Teacher Recruitment program to empower high-poverty school districts to develop programs to recruit homegrown teachers to address the shortage of qualified teachers.
Turning Around Failing Schools. 11 million low-income students in 13,000 school districts now benefit from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to higher standards through Title I-Aid to Disadvantaged Students. The FY 2000 budget provides a $134 million accountability fund to help turn around the worst performing schools and hold them accountable for results through such measures as overhauling curriculum, improving staffing, or even closing schools and reopening them as charter schools. This year, the President is proposing to double funding for this fund to turn around the nation's failing schools to ensure all children receive a quality education.
Extra Help for Limited-English Proficient Children. In 1994, President Clinton reformed the Title I program, reducing barriers that had prevented limited-English proficient children from getting help. In the 1996-97 school year, 30% of the children served by Title I were Hispanic.
Strengthening Bilingual and Immigrant Education. Bilingual education funding helps school districts teach English to more than a million limited English proficient (LEP) children to help them meet high standards, and also provides teachers with the training they need to teach LEP students. The Immigrant Education program helps more than a thousand school districts provide supplemental instructional services to more than 800,000 recent immigrant students. The Clinton-Gore Administration fought for and won a 35% increase in bilingual and immigrant education in the 1997 budget, and another $26 million increase in the FY 2000 budget. As a part of its Hispanic Education Action Plan, the Administration doubled the investment in bilingual teacher training in FY 1999. The President has proposed additional help to ensure that all teachers are well-trained to meet the needs of LEP students. His proposal would also make schools and districts more accountable for helping LEP children master their academic subjects and learn English. The President's FY 2001 budget provides an additional $832 million for these programs.
More Assistance for Migrant Children and Families. Migrant families face particularly difficult obstacles to gaining the education and training they would need to improve their standard of living. President Clinton improved the Migrant Education Program in the 1994 reauthorization, won a 16 percent increase in FY 1999, and won another increase in FY 2000 -- bringing the total to $22 million. As part of his Hispanic Education Action Plan, he also won increases for the High School Equivalency Program, the, College Assistance Migrant Program, as well as funding for a Migrant Youth Job Training Demonstration.
Reducing the Drop Out Rate Through Right Track Partnerships. The President's FY 2000 budget provides $100 million for "Right Track Partnerships" to promote partnerships between schools, employers, and community-based organizations that devise innovative community-wide approaches to increase the rate at which economically disadvantaged and limited-English proficient youth complete and excel in high school and subsequently increase the rate at which these youth go on to post-secondary education, training, and higher paying careers. This new proposal builds on last year's Hispanic Education Action Plan, which received nearly $500 million for FY1999.
Opening the Doors of College to All Americans. President Clinton proposed and passed the HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning tax credits, which in 1999 were claimed by an estimated 10 million American families struggling to pay for college. The Hope Scholarship helps make the first two years of college universally available by providing a tax credit of up to $1,500 for tuition and fees for the first two years of college. The Lifetime Learning tax credit provides a 20 percent tax credit on the first $5,000 of tuition and fees for students beyond the first two years of college, or taking classes part-time (in 2003, this increases to $10,000 of tuition and fees). In his FY 2001 budget, the President has proposed expanding the Lifetime Learning tax credit with a College Opportunity tax cut, which will give families the option of taking a tax deduction or claiming a 28 percent credit for the first $5,000 of college tuition and fees through 2002, and $10,000 thereafter.
Expanding Work-Study and Pell Grants. One million students will be able to work their way through college because of the President's expansion of the Work Study Program, and nearly four million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,300, the largest maximum award ever. The maximum award has increased 43 percent under the Clinton-Gore Administration. This year President Clinton proposed a $77 million increase in Work-Study to continue to support one million awards, and a $200 increase in the Pell Grant maximum award, to raise it to $3,500. In the 1995-96 school year, 54 percent of all Hispanic students enrolled full-time in college received a Pell Grant.
Dual Degree Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions. The Clinton-Gore Administration has proposed a new program to increase opportunities for students at minority-serving institutions that offer four-year degrees. Students would receive two degrees within five years: one from a minority-serving institution, and one from a partner institution in a field in which minorities are underrepresented. This new $40 million program will serve an estimated 3,000 students.
Established a Hispanic Advisory Commission. In 1994, the President issued an Executive Order establishing an advisory commission to oversee the improvement in education for Hispanics and to ensure that Hispanic-Serving Institutions have more input regarding educational goals and issues of concern to Hispanics. The Commission's report identified contributing factors impacting attainment of educational excellence, corrective policy actions, and plans for program development and funding.
Helping Students Finish College. This year the President has proposed new College Completion Challenge Grants to help reduce the college dropout rate, with pre-freshman summer programs, support services and increased grant aid to students. This $35 million initiative will improve the chances of success for nearly 18,000 students. Currently, 31 percent of Hispanics drop out of college after less than one year, compared to 18 percent of whites.
Implemented the Student Diversity Partnership Program. The Administration partnered with Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education to implement the Student Diversity Partnership Program. This program will ensure an adequate supply of diverse and qualified scientists and engineers for the 21st century. In addition, the White House awarded Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring Grants to both individual mentors and institutions that foster mentoring, helping to ensure that America's future scientists and engineers come from all of the nation's racial and cultural segments of the population.
AmeriCorps College Support. Since 1993, more than 150,000 people have had the opportunity to serve their communities through AmeriCorps, with Hispanics comprising 11 percent of all participants. In 1999, nearly 50,000 young people had the opportunity to serve and earn an award of up to $4,725 to pay for college or repay student loans.
Established the GEAR-UP Mentoring Program for Middle School Children. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created and expanded GEAR-UP, a nationwide mentoring initiative, to help over 750,000 low-income middle school children finish school and prepare for college. GEAR-UP will expand mentoring efforts by states and provide new grants to partnerships of middle schools, institutions of higher education, and community organizations, to provide intensive early intervention services to help prepare over 750,000 students at high-poverty middle schools for college. The President's FY 2001 budget would expand services to 1.4 million students with a 63 percent increase.
Expanding Investments in Youth Education and Training. While House Republicans attempted to eliminate the successful Summer Jobs program in FY 1999, President Clinton prevailed with his request for $871 million in funding, which provided about 483,000 summer jobs for disadvantaged youth. That same year the President signed into law the Workforce Investment Act, consolidating the funding streams of the summer jobs and year-round training programs and increasing local flexibility to design youth job training programs. The Youth Opportunity Grants program provides high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 with academic and job-skills training, as well as apprenticeships building and rehabilitating affordable housing. The President proposed and won $250 million for the second year of funding for this innovative program in FY 2000, allowing the program to serve up to 58,000 of the most disadvantaged young people in high poverty areas.
Improving Our Nation's Health
Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. In 1998, President Clinton announced an initiative to end racial and ethnic health disparities. The effort sets a national goal of eliminating the longstanding disparities by the year 2010 in six key health areas: infant mortality, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS and immunizations. In the FY 1999 budget, Congress took a critical first step in investing in the President's multi-year proposal and in FY 2000 provided an additional $20 million in funding, a 200 percent increase. Working with minority public health providers, advocates, and other consumer representatives, the FY 2001 budget includes $35 million for the Centers for Disease Control to continue demonstration programs to enable select communities to develop innovative and effective approaches to address these disparities.
Addressing HIV/AIDS in Minority Communities. Racial and ethnic communities make up the fastest growing portion of HIV/AIDS cases (more than 50 percent of all new HIV cases). In FY 2000, the President builds on the progress started last year with a $251 million investment in a comprehensive initiative that will improve prevention efforts in high-risk communities and expand access to cutting edge HIV therapies and other treatment needed for HIV/AIDS in minority communities. The President's FY 2001 budget includes $274 million to continue this effort.
Established Office of Minority Health Research. The Clinton-Gore Administration established the Office of Minority Health Research and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. The Administration also helped communities develop culturally-competent systems for the care of children with serious emotional disturbances through the Comprehensive Mental Health Services for Children and Families program, and negotiated agreements with hospitals and nursing homes to eliminate barriers to equal access for minorities based on language.
Working to Enact a Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights for All Americans. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have called on the Congress to pass a strong, enforceable patients' bill of rights that assures Americans the quality health care they need. The bill should include important patient protections such as: assuring direct access to specialists; real emergency room protections; continuity of care provisions that protect patients from abrupt changes in treatment; a fair, timely, and independent appeals process for patient grievances; and enforcement provisions to make these rights real. Leading by example, the President directed all federal agencies to ensure that their employees and beneficiaries have the benefits and rights guaranteed under the President's proposed Patients' Bill of Rights.
Enacted Most Comprehensive Medicare Reforms in History. In the 1997 Balanced Budget, protected, modernized and extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund while offering new options for patient choice and preventive care. New preventive benefits passed include coverage of annual mammograms, coverage of screening tests for both colorectal and cervical cancer, and a diabetes self-management benefit. Proposed a plan to reform and modernize Medicare's benefits, including an optional prescription drug benefit that is affordable and available to all beneficiaries. In March 1999, the Medicare Trustees reported that the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended until 2025. In 1993, Medicare was expected to run out of money in 1999.
Extended Health Care to Millions of Children with the Children's Health Insurance Program. In the Balanced Budget of 1997, President Clinton won $24 billion to provide health care coverage to up to five million uninsured children. In October 1999 the President announced new outreach efforts to enroll millions of eligible, uninsured children. Last year, the President launched a nationwide "Insure Kids Now" campaign that will bring together major TV and radio networks, healthcare organizations, religious groups and other community-based organizations to help enroll more children in the Children's Health Insurance Program, with the goal of enrolling 5 million of the estimated 10 million children eligible for health insurance under CHIP within 5 years. Hispanic children make up nearly 30 percent of all uninsured children. In order to reach this vulnerable population, the Administration and states have made special efforts to advertise the availability of the program and provide enrollment materials printed in Spanish. This year's budget includes several of Vice President Gore's proposals to accelerate enrollment of children in CHIP. The President and Vice President are also proposing a new FamilyCare program, which would give States the option to cover parents in the same plan as their children.
Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). President Clinton won over $4 billion to provide access to health care, supplemental foods, nutrition and breastfeeding education to 7.3 million women, infants, and children -- 1.4 million more than in 1993 -- through the WIC program. Research shows that every $1 increase in the prenatal care portion of the WIC program cuts between $1.77 and $3.90 in medical expenses in the first 60 days following childbirth. In 1996, 29 percent of the infants and 31 percent of the children who benefited from WIC were Hispanic.
Providing Access to Health Care Services for Uninsured Workers. Last year, the President proposed and won $25 million in funding for a program to coordinate systems of care, increase the number of services delivered and establish an accountability system to assure adequate patient care for the uninsured and low-income. This year, the President has proposed funding this initiative at $125 million, representing a substantial down payment on the President's plan to invest $1 billion over 5 years.
Raised Immunization Rates to All Time High. Since 1993, childhood immunization rates have reached all-time highs, with 90 percent or more of America's toddlers receiving the most critical doses of vaccines for children by age 2. For the most critical childhood vaccines, vaccination levels are nearly the same for preschool children of all racial and ethnic groups, narrowing a gap that was estimated to be as wide as 26 percentage points a generation ago. But despite this program, as of 1997, 79 percent of white children had received the recommended series of vaccinations by age 2 compared to 72 percent of Hispanic children whom had been vaccinated against childhood disease. To help increase participation, on April 20, 1999, Secretary Shalala announced a new Spanish-language childhood immunization public awareness campaign, "Vacunelo A Tiempo Todo el Tiempo" (Vaccinate Your Children On time, Every Time), to create and distribute culturally relevant and language appropriate educational materials to help raise Hispanic immunization rates to the national average.
Expanding Coverage to Uninsured Americans. The President and Vice President have proposed a 10-year, $110 billion initiative that would dramatically improve the affordability of and access to health insurance. The proposal would expand coverage to at least 5 million uninsured Americans and expand access to millions more. If enacted, these policies would be the largest expansion of coverage since Medicare was created in 1965.
Providing Health Care to Children and Pregnant Women. Under current law, states have the option to provide health coverage to immigrant children and pregnant women who entered the country before August 22, 1996. The President's FY 2001 Budget gives states the option to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to low-income legal immigrant children and Medicaid to pregnant women who entered the country after August 22, 1996. The proposal would cost $695 million and provide critical health insurance to approximately 144,000 children and 33,000 women by FY 2005. This proposal would reduce the number of high-risk pregnancies, ensure healthier children, and lower the cost of emergency Medicaid deliveries. The budget's Medicaid/SCHIP FamilyCare initiative also covers legal immigrant parents of children who are covered by Medicaid or SCHIP.
Strengthening Families and Communities
Helping Parents Balance Work and Family. The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- the first piece of legislation the President signed into law -- enables workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a new baby or ailing family member without jeopardizing their job. Since its enactment, millions of Americans have benefited from FMLA, and the President has expanded leave options for Federal employees. President Clinton has called for extending this benefit to 12 million more working families and expanding the law to allow workers to take leave for family obligations such as doctors appointments and parent-teacher conferences. Additionally, in his FY 2001 budget, the President is proposing new grants to enable states and regions to develop innovative paid leave options for working parents.
Providing Incentives to Save. President Clinton signed legislation creating Individual Development Accounts, providing incentives for low-income families to save for a first home, higher education, or to start a new business, a key part of his 1992 community empowerment agenda. In FY 1999, $10 million was awarded to establish savings accounts for over 10,000 low-income workers in 40 communities, and an additional $10 million will be awarded in FY 2000. The President's budget provides $25 million for IDAs in FY 2001 and proposes to allow low-income working families to use IDAs to save for a car that will allow them to get or keep a job. [White House Fact Sheet, 10/27/98, White House Fact Sheet, 2/23/00]
Doubled Child Support Collections. President Clinton signed into law the toughest child support crackdown in history. Federal and state child support programs broke new records in 1999, collecting nearly $16 billion -- double the amount collected in 1992. The number of paternities established rose to a record 1.5 million in 1999 – more than triple the number from 516,000 in 1992. The number of child support cases with collections more than doubled during the Clinton Administration, from 2.8 million in 1992 to 4.5 million in 1999. [Child Support Enforcement FY 1999 Preliminary Data Report, 10/00]
Increasing Homeownership. The Clinton-Gore Administration launched a program to increase the homeownership rate of Hispanics in the U.S. through advertising, education and counseling programs and working with lending institutions to better serve the Hispanic community. The Hispanic homeownership rate rose to 45.5 percent in 1999, the highest level ever recorded.
Expanding Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 40 Percent. In 1993, President Clinton fulfilled his promise to permanently extend the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, spurring the private development of low-income housing and helping to build 75,000-90,000 housing units each year.
Protecting Rent Subsidies for Low-Income Families. President Clinton won $10.8 billion in the FY00 budget for the renewal of all Section 8 contracts, an increase of $1.2 billion from FY 1999. This will ensure continuation of HUD rental subsidies for low-income tenants in privately owned housing.
The FY 2001 budget requests $690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers to help America's hard-pressed working families, building on the 110,000 new vouchers secured in the past two years.
Teen Births Down to the Lowest Rate on Record. The teen birth rate has fallen eight years in a row, dropping 20 percent from 1991 to 1999 to the lowest rate in the 60 years data on teen births have been recorded. The teen pregnancy rate is also at the lowest rate on record. To build on this progress, the President's budget includes funding for "second chance homes" for teen parents. [Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics, "Births: Preliminary Data for 1999," 8/8/00; White House Office of the Press Secretary, 08/12/00]
Improved Access to Affordable, Quality Child Care and Early Childhood Programs. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, federal funding for child care has more than doubled, helping parents pay for the care of about 1.5 million children in 1998, and the1996 welfare reform law increased child care funding by $4 billion over six years to provide child care assistance to families moving from welfare to work. Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has increased funding for the Head Start program by 90 percent, and in FY 2000, the program will serve approximately 880,000 children – over 160,000 more children than in 1993. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have proposed a $817 million increase in FY 2001 for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which helps working families struggling to afford child care. These new funds, combined with the child care funds provided in welfare reform, will enable the program to serve over 2.2 million children in 2001.
Making Our Communities Safer
Lowest Crime Rates in a Generation. When President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office in 1993, the violent crime rate in America had more than quadrupled during the previous three decades. Since then, America has experienced the longest continuous drop in crime on record. The overall crime rate is the lowest in 25 years, and in 1999 crime fell for the eighth consecutive year nationwide. Violent crime rate fell 7 percent in 1999 and 27 percent since 1993. Since 1993, the murder rate is down more than 25 percent to its lowest point since 1967, and gun violence has declined by more than 35 percent. Between 1997 and 1998, the Hispanic violent victimization rate fell by nearly a third. . [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998 National Crime Victimization Survey; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports for the United States 1998, 1999; FY 2001 Budget, p. 107]
Putting 100,000 More Police on the Streets. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration met its commitment to fund an additional 100,000 police officers for our communities. As a part of the COPS Program, the President announced new grants to increase community policing in high-crime and underserved neighborhoods. To help keep crime at record lows, the President won funding for the first installment toward his goal to hire up to 50,000 more officers by 2005. This year, the Clinton-Gore budget includes over $1 billion to continue the successful COPS initiative to hire more officers, hire new community prosecutors, give police the tools they need to fight crime, and to fund community-wide crime fighting efforts.
More Than Half a Million Felons, Fugitives and Domestic Abusers Denied Guns. Since taking effect in 1994, the Brady Law has helped to prevent a total of more than 536,000 felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns. In November 1998, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) took effect under the Brady Law, allowing access to a fuller set of records that law enforcement officials can use to conduct checks of all prospective gun purchases -- not just for handguns. As of March 2000, NICS has conducted over 10 million background checks on gun purchasers, and stopped an estimated 179,000 illegal gun sale. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 1999, 6/00]
Working to End Racial Profiling. To help determine where and when racial profiling occurs, President Clinton directed Cabinet agencies to collect data on the race, ethnicity, and gender of individuals subject to certain stops by federal law enforcement. The President has also supported increased resources for police integrity and ethics training and to improve the diversity of local police forces. The President also supports legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers to require state and local police forces to collect the same data.
Preventing Hate Crimes. As part of the historic 1994 Crime Act, the President signed the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act which provides for longer sentences where the offense is determined to be a hate crime. The President and Vice President have repeatedly called for passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would strengthen the existing federal hate crimes law. The President's FY 2001 budget includes $20 million to promote police integrity and for hate crimes training for federal, state, and local law enforcement. President Clinton also hosted the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes, which examined laws and remedies that can make a difference in preventing hate crimes, highlighted solutions that are working in communities across the country, and continued the frank and open dialogue needed to build One America.
Coordinating the Federal Government's Response to Youth Violence. In 1999, President Clinton created the White House Council on Youth Violence to coordinate youth violence research and programs throughout the federal government, and to make information derived from the federal government's efforts more accessible to the public. Members of the Council include the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor, as well as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Giving Police the Tools They Need to Fight Crime. President Clinton won $230 million in FY 2000 to provide law enforcement with the latest crime-fighting and crime-solving technology. This funding will help make crime mapping technology -- which enables police agencies to track crime hot spots and target their resources to where they are most needed -- more widely available, to improve compatibility among law enforcement communications systems, and aid development and expansion of innovative tools to help law enforcement fight crime.
Largest Gun Enforcement Initiative in History. This year, President Clinton has proposed the largest gun enforcement initiative ever. The initiative would provide a record $280 million to add 500 new federal ATF agents and inspectors to target violent gun criminals and illegal gun traffickers that supply guns to criminals and juveniles, and fund over 1,000 new federal, state, and local gun prosecutors to take dangerous gun offenders off the streets. This initiative would also expand the ATF's crime gun tracing program by providing tracing equipment and training to 250 additional law enforcement agencies and by creating the first nationally integrated ballistics testing system. The new ballistics testing system will help law enforcement use the unique "fingerprints" of bullets or shell casings left at the scene of a crime to identify gun criminals -- even in the absence of a firearm. [Justice Department Press Release, 1/18/00]
Safe and Clean Environment
Environmental Justice and Redevelopment. The President issued an Executive Order on Environmental Justice to ensure that low-income citizens and minorities do not suffer a disproportionate burden of industrial pollution. The Administration identified pilot projects to be undertaken across the country to redevelop contaminated sites in low-income communities, turn them into useable space, create jobs and enhance community development.
Accelerating Toxic Cleanups and Brownfields Redevelopment. The Clinton-Gore Administration has completed clean up at more than 525 Superfund sites, more than three times as many as completed in the previous twelve years. Clean up of more than 91 percent of all sites is either completed or in progress. The Administration has leveraged nearly $1 billion in private sector investment for Brownfields redevelopment. [Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund NPL Construction Completions Since 1/20/93 to 6/22/99]
Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe. The President proposed and signed legislation to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that our families have healthy, clean tap water. The Clinton-Gore Administration has required America's 55,000 water utilities to provide regular reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water. The Administration significantly tightened the arsenic standard, providing additional protection to at least 22.5 million Americans from cancer and other health problems. The Administration has adopted or proposed new standards to provide the first-ever protection against waterborne illness like Cryptosporidium, potentially preventing more than half a million illnesses each year. The Administration also proposed new rule to reduce dirty runoff and strengthen protections for 20,000 rivers, lakes and other waterways too polluted for swimming and fishing. Ninety-one percent of America's tap water from community drinking water systems now meets all federal standards. [White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 8/6/96; White House, Council on Environmental Quality, 4/22/99; Environmental Protection Agency, Summary of the 2000 Budget, p. 30; Environmental Protection Agency, Press Release, 5/24/00; White House, Office of the Vice President, 3/28/00]
Clearing the Air of Unhealthy Pollution. The President and Vice President have adopted the toughest standards ever on soot and smog. They proposed significant reductions in tailpipe emissions from cars, light trucks and SUVs, and launched long-term effort to restore pristine skies over our national parks and wilderness areas. Since 1993, the number of Americans living in communities that meet federal air quality standards has grown by 43 million. [White House, Council on Environmental Quality, 5/1/99]
American Leadership Abroad
Democracy for Cuba. The Clinton-Gore Administration increased efforts to promote a peaceful, democratic transition in Cuba by keeping pressure on the Castro government for change while reaching out to the Cuban people. The President has strengthened the international consensus on the need to promote human rights and democracy. The Clinton Administration has authorized humanitarian measures to alleviate the Cuban people's suffering, encouraged the emergence of civil society, and helped people prepare for a democratic future.
Supporting Our Closest Neighbors. The Administration took decisive action in assembling a financial support package for Mexico and later Brazil. In each case, the President's leadership prevented a prolonged financial crisis and its spread to other Latin American countries. In addition, the President traveled to Latin America and launched hemispheric negotiations for Free Trade Area of the Americas.