Supporting African Americans
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
Working on Behalf of African Americans
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 $211 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 a half century.
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. [National Economic Council, 7/29/00]
Record-Low African American Unemployment. The African-American unemployment rate has fallen from an average of 14.2 percent in 1992 to an average of 7.7 percent in 2000 – the lowest rate on record.
Largest One Year Increase in Median Income for African American Families. In 1999, the median income of African American households increased from $25,911 in 1998 to $27,910 -- an increase of $1,999, or 7.7 percent, which is the largest one-year increase ever recorded. That's up from $24,300 in 1993.
Real Wages are Rising for African Americans. The real wages of African Americans have risen rapidly, up 8.2 percent in the last three years.
Highest Homeownership on Record for African Americans. The homeownership rate for African American households rose to 46.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999, the highest homeownership rate on record (comparable data go back to 1994). Between 1994 and 1999 the number of African American families that owned their own homes increased by 1.1 million.
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 1.1 million African Americans out of poverty. This year the President has proposed expanding the EITC to provide tax relief to 6.8 million additional working families.
African American Poverty Rate Down To Lowest Level on Record. Since 1993, the African-American poverty rate dropped from 33.1 percent to 23.6 percent, a 29 percent decline, which is the lowest rate on record (data first collected in 1959) and the largest six-year drop in African American poverty in more than 30 years. While this decrease marks significant progress, President Clinton will continue to fight for policies that help to raise incomes and reduce poverty.
Child Poverty Among African Americans Down To Lowest Level on Record. While the African-American child poverty rate is too high, it fell from 36.7 percent to 33.1 percent in 1998, which is the largest one-year drop in history and its lowest level on record (data collected since 1959). Since 1993, the child poverty rate among African Americans has fallen every single year for six straight years (1993- 99), a historical record. Poverty among African American children has declined 13 percentage points, or 28.2 percent, under President Clinton.
Increased Minimum Wage. The President raised the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour -- directly benefiting 1.3 million African American 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 African American women represented only 66 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. The President has also pushed for measures to strengthen Social Security's benefits to reduce poverty among elderly women. These steps would be a down payment on truly saving Social Security.
Encouraging Investment in Underserved 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 underserved communities, which have helped generate more than $1 billion in private sector investment commitments.
Expanding Access to Capital through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). Proposed and signed into law by the President in 1994, the CDFI Fund is helping to create a network of community development financial institutions in distressed areas across the United States through grants, loans and equity investments. In FY 1999, funding was increased 19 percent to $95 million, and President Clinton successfully worked to maintain that investment in FY 2000. In FY 2001, the President is proposing $125 million.
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, 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.
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, and a commitment by the Congress of National Black Churches to make the digital divide a top civil rights priority.
More than Three Times the Number of Small Business Loans. Between 1993 and 2000 the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than 16,100 loans to African American entrepreneurs under the 7(a), 504, and Microloan programs [as of 3/17/00]. In 1999 alone, the SBA granted 2,456 loans, worth $386.3 million, to African American small business owners -- more than 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 African American and Hispanic business communities nationwide. The SBA has set a goal of providing an estimated total of $1.86 billion in loans to African American small businesses over a three-year period. 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.
Working on Behalf of Minority Farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to strengthen programs and increase 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. The Administration is committed to righting any past wrongs by federal employees and worked with the Congress in 1998 to craft language contained in the Agriculture Appropriations bill that allows compensation to be provided to many minority farmers who were victims of discrimination by USDA from the early 1980's through the 1990's. On Jan. 5, 1999, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced an historic agreement to settle the discrimination lawsuit against the USDA brought by African American farmers.
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. Dr. John Hope Franklin, Advisory Board Chair, and Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook 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. African Americans make up twelve percent of the Clinton Cabinet, including: Rodney Slater, Secretary of the Department of Transportation; Togo West, Jr., Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor. Additionally, African Americans serve in the Administration as Surgeon General, Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Director of the National Park Service, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Education, Chair of the Railroad Retirement Board, and Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa.
Increasing the Number of Judicial Appointments. President Clinton has named 14 African Americans as U.S. Attorneys and 12 African Americans as U.S. Marshals. The President has nominated 67 African Americans to the Federal bench, 17 percent of his total Federal bench nominations. The President has appointed more African Americans to federal judgeships (62 total) than were appointed during the last sixteen years combined (57 total). [White House Fact Sheet, 7/30/00]
Senior Level Administration Appointments. Fourteen percent of Clinton Administration appointees are African American, twice as many as in any previous Administration. White House appointees include: Bob Nash, Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel; Thurgood Marshall, Jr., Assistant to the President and Director of Cabinet Affairs; Minyon Moore, Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs; Terry Edmonds, Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting; Mark Lindsey, Assistant to the President for Management and Administration; Ben Johnson, Assistant to the President and Director of the President's Initiative for One America; Broderick Johnson, Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs; Jake Simmons, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Military Office; and Sharon Farmer, the first African-American to serve as Director of the White House Photography Office.
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 African Americans, 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.
Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In July 1998, President Clinton signed a new measure authorizing the creation of a national monument to Dr. King on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. And in February 2000, during Black History Month, the President unveiled a bust of Dr. King that will be a permanent sculpture in the White House.
Helping Rebuild the City of Princeville. Princeville, North Carolina, is the first city in the United States founded by former slaves. Repeated flooding from the River Tar in recent years has caused damage in Princeville, which was devastated this fall by the particularly severe floods that accompanied Hurricane Floyd. In February 2000, President Clinton created the President's Council on the Future of Princeville, North Carolina. The Council will bring together representatives from twelve Federal agencies and the Cabinet to work with elected officials, the private sector, community and non-profit groups to recommend measures the Administration can take to help repair and rebuild Princeville and, to the extent possible, protect the town from future floods.
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.
Ensuring Election Fairness. The Clinton 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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
Apologized to the Victims of Tuskegee. President Clinton apologized to the victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and their families, and directed Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala to issue a report about how best to involve communities, especially minority communities, in research and health care. HHS awarded a planning grant to Tuskegee University to help it establish a center for bioethics in research and health care.
Righting Past Wrongs. In February 2000, President Clinton granted a pardon on the charge of draft evasion to Preston King, a Georgia native who fled the country in 1961 rather than enlist in the Army because an all-white draft board refused to call him "Mister" once it learned he was black. King had told the draft board he would enlist if it addressed him with the same title reserved for whites. President Clinton granted a posthumous pardon to Henry O. Flipper, a former slave who in 1877 became the first African-American graduate of West Point. In what was apparently a racial incident, a white officer accused Flipper of stealing $2,561 -- he was cleared by a military court, but discharged dishonorably. The President granted the pardon in February 1999.
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 4.4 percent of African Americans 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 and Vice President are determined to have a fair and full count in 2000, and in February 2000 the President announced new steps to encourage all Americans to participate in Census 2000. The President launched a Census in Schools Challenge, to ensure that children are counted and educate both students and parents; reiterated that Census information is strictly confidential; and directed federal agencies to step up activities in support of the Census.
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.
Focused Health Efforts. The Clinton-Gore Administration established the Office of the 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.
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, Benefiting the 3.4 Million African Americans Enrolled in Medicare. 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. This year, the 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. African American children make up 25 percent of all uninsured children -- more than twice their percentage of the overall population.
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, 25 percent of the infants and 24 percent of the children who benefited from WIC were African American.
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 his 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. With childhood vaccination levels at an all-time high, disease and death from diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and Hib are at or near record lows. [HHS Fact Sheet, 9/23/99; HHS Fact Sheet, 12/31/99]
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.
Investing in Education
Largest Investment in Education in Thirty Years. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been committed to maintaining our nation's investment in education. The Clinton-Gore Administration enacted the largest investment in education in 30 years – and the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill by doubling student aid to nearly $60 billion.
Established Advisory Board for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The President and Vice President established the President's Board of Advisors for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to strengthen the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education and advised on ways to increase the private sector's role in these institutions. In addition, the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education has been vigilant in its efforts to expand college opportunities through enforcement to eliminate vestiges of discrimination in formerly racially segregated higher education systems. The Office for Civil Rights at Education works to ensure minority student access to higher education, impacting both HBCUs and historically white universities.
Increased Funding and Grants for HBCUs. The Clinton-Gore Administration increased funding for Historically Black Colleges by over $260 million between FY 1992 and FY 2000. Today, America's 105 HBCUs are educating almost 300,000 African Americans.
AmeriCorps College Support. Since 1993, more than 150,000 people have had the opportunity to serve through AmeriCorps, with African Americans comprising 23 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.
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.
Record Enrollment. 66 percent of high school graduates went on to college in 1998, compared to 60 percent in 1990. The percentage of African American high school graduates enrolling in college increased from 48 percent in 1992 to 59 percent in 1997 -- the highest number ever.
Enacted Hope Scholarships and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits. 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.
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. 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.
Helping Students Finish College. This year the President has proposed new College Completion Challenge Grants to help reduce the college drop-out 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, 29 percent of African Americans drop out of college after less than one year, compared to 18 percent of whites.
Fostering Diversity. In 1998, 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.
Modernizing Our Schools. Public and elementary enrollment is expected to increase by another million students between 1999 and 2006, to a record 44.4 million elementary and secondary students. This year, the President and Vice President have proposed federal tax credits to pay the interest on nearly $25 billion in state and local bonds to modernize and rebuild up to 6,000 public schools that are overcrowded, out-of-date, and unsafe. In addition, the Administration's FY 2001 budget includes a new $1.3 billion urgent renovation loans and grant proposal to repair 5,000 schools. An estimated $127 billion is needed to bring America's schools into good overall condition, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
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 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.
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]
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 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. In the 1996-97 school year, 28 percent of the children benefiting from Title I were African American.
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. In 1998, 36 percent of the children enrolled in Head Start were African American.
Establishing 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.
Teaching Job Skills and Building Homes Through "Youthbuild." Through the Youthbuild program, nearly 2,300 high school dropouts have developed valuable job skills while building or renovating homes for hundreds of low-income families. This program offers young adults, ranging in age from 16 to 24, the opportunity to gain leadership skills, earn a high school diploma or GED, learn a valuable trade, and provide much-needed housing to families nationwide. More than $170 million in grants have been made under Youthbuild since its inception in 1993, enabling over 7,800 young people to take part in building or rehabilitating more than 3,650 houses and apartments units in their communities. The FY 2001 budget increases the investment in Youthbuild by 76 percent to $75 million, enough to serve about 3,330 trainees.
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 FY1999 Preliminary Data Report, 10/00]
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 FY2001 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.
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.
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. African Americans experienced greater declines in teen births over this period than any other racial or ethnic group. 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 1993-1998, decreasing victimization trends were experienced about equally for all race, sex and income groups. [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 a distressed neighborhood grant program to increase community policing in high-crime and underserved neighborhoods. To help keep crime at record lows, in fall 1999, 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 and technology they need to fight crime, and to fund community-wide crime fighting efforts. [Justice Department, COPS Program, 5/12/99; National Economic Council, 11/18/99; FY 2001 Budget, p. 109]
Supervising Released Offenders. Two-thirds of all prisoners are re-arrested for new offenses within three years of release. To combat this problem, President Clinton's FY 2001 budget calls for greater supervision of the 500,000 inmates who will leave prison this year and reenter communities in order to address community safety concerns, lower recidivism rates and promote responsible parenting. This initiative would include $60 million to create "reentry partnerships" and "reentry courts", complemented by $75 million for Responsible Reintegration for Young Offenders grants from the Department of Labor and $10 million for substance abuse and mental health services through the Department of Health and Human Services.
More Than Half a Million Felons, Fugitives and Domestic Abusers Denied Guns. Since taking effect in 1994, the Brady Law has helped to prevent 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 sales. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 1999, 6/00]
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]
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.
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.
Took Action Against Church Burnings. President Clinton and Vice President Gore focused the nation's attention and resources to help stop the rash of church burnings across the country, prosecuted those responsible, and sped the rebuilding process.
Safe and Clean Environment
Environmental Justice and Redevelopment. In February 1994, President Clinton 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. [Executive Order 12898, 2/11/94]
Accelerating Toxic Cleanups and Brownfields Redevelopment. The Clinton-Gore Administration has cleaned up over 530 Superfund sites -- nearly three times as many in six years as the previous administrations did in twelve -- with clean up of more than 90 percent of all sites either completed or in progress. The Administration's brownfields initiative has generated 6,400 jobs, and leveraged over $2.3 billion in private sector investment for brownfields redevelopment. [EPA, Construction Completions at National Priorities List Sites, as of 7/27/00; EPA, www.epa.gov, 8/23/00]
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]
Preserving Our National Treasures. The Clinton-Gore Administration has protected tens of millions of acres, from the red rock canyons of Utah to the Florida Everglades. The Administration reached agreements to protect Yellowstone from mining and save the ancient redwoods of California's Headwaters Forest. In the FY 2000 budget, the President and Vice President won $651 million (a 42 percent increase) for Lands Legacy, a historic initiative to strengthen federal efforts to preserve national treasures and provides communities with new resources to protect local green spaces.
American Leadership Abroad
Made a Historic Presidential Trip to Africa. In 1998, President Clinton made the first trip by a sitting U.S. President to Ghana, Uganda, Botswana and Senegal. While in Africa, President Clinton focused on key issues of development, trade, investment, empowerment of women and the environment. The trip increased and enhanced ties with Africa and built upon the work and achievements of the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Transportation Secretary Slater and Presidential Special Envoy Jesse Jackson.
Assisted South Africa's Transition to Democracy. The Clinton-Gore Administration provided over $600 million in the first three years to the newly-elected democratic government of South Africa to support democracy and development. Established the Gore-Mbeki Bi-National Commission to promote cooperation in trade, development, the environment and security.
Hosted the First-Ever White House Conference on Africa in July 1994. This Conference brought together key American policy-makers and leaders to discuss the future of US-Africa relations.
Supporting transition to democracy in Nigeria and mediating peace efforts in Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Ethiopia-Eritrea.
Restored democracy in Haiti, ending military dictatorship and stopping refugee flows.
Launched the President's Partnership for Economic Opportunity in Africa Initiative. This initiative deepens trade and investment between Africa and the United States and is the cornerstone of the Administration's Africa policy. The President enacted the bipartisan African Growth and Opportunity Act which complements his "Partnership Initiative" by further strengthening U.S.-Africa trade relations.
Mobilizing Resources to Fight Disease. The Clinton-Gore Administration is mobilizing leadership and resources – including the development of new vaccines – to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, which threaten development, economic growth, stability and security.