THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||August 3, 1998|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT SUMMER JOBS EVENT
Prince George's Community Hospital
11:36 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Let's give Terence another hand. Wasn'the good. (Applause.) Well, I would say Terence has gotten quite alot out of his job opportunity here. And he made quite a goodspeech. Maybe he needs a summer job with Wayne Curry or CongressmanWynn or Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend or the President, orsomething. He's very good, I think. (Applause.)
I'd like to thank my friend, Wayne Curry, for thatwonderful welcome. I thank Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsendfor her sentiments and her passionate work for our children. And Ithank, in his absence, Governor Glendening for his support for somany good causes, but especially the one we have come here to advancetoday.
I thank Al Wynn. He didn't even come close to breakingthe Barbara Mikulski step up here. (Laughter.) But every day hecomes close to the ideal of what I think a congressman should be. Ithank the state and the local officials who are here, and I thank thehospital. As Wayne said, it's quite an accommodation to take in apresidential visit, and I thank them for making me and SecretaryHerman and our party feel so welcome.
I, too, want to say my personal thanks to SecretaryHerman for her role in settling the General Motors strike. We wantto keep this economy going and we don't do very well in Americaunless all of our auto workers are out there working hard and makingcars. And I know we're all grateful for that.
Let me say to all the young people here in this audienceon the summer job program, both those behind me on the stage andthose out here in the audience, I am very proud of what you're doinghere and I hope you are as well, because whether you're serving lunchin a cafeteria or escorting patients in the hallways, you're not onlyhelping this hospital to help others, you're helping to build abetter future for yourselves; proving that given the opportunity towork and to learn, there is no limit to what our young people can do.
I want to talk to you today about what we are doing tomake sure more young people have the chance to continue toparticipate in summer jobs and to continue to improve theireducation. One of the principal reasons I ran for President in 1992was to make sure that as we move into the 21st century, every youngperson in this country, without regard to their income, their race,their background, or where they live, would have the opportunity tomake the most of his or her life.
I wanted to create a 21st century America, where theAmerican Dream is alive for all our people, and where our people arecoming together across all the lines that divide us into one Americancommunity, and where that gives us the strength to continue to leadthe world to greater peace and freedom and prosperity. None of thatcan occur unless we make sure that every American has a first-classeducation, and then, that we have an economy that functions so everyAmerican can make the most of that education.
Right now in Washington, we are preparing the budgetthat will determine how we continue to reform, renew, and advanceeducation next year. This isn't just a normal budget. Because offive years of strict budget discipline in our nation, this will bethe first balanced budget in most of your lifetimes, the first one in29 years. (Applause.) It is also a validation of our economicstrategy that you can cut the deficit and continue to invest money inpeople -- in science and technology, in education, in theenvironment, in building the right kind of future. We have to doboth.
To do our part I have proposed in this balanced budget acomprehensive education agenda with high national standards; moreaccountability; more school choice in charter schools; morewell-qualified teachers; smaller classrooms; modernized schoolsequipped with computers and hooked up to the Internet; reading tutorsfor children who are falling behind; before- and after-schoolprograms and summer school programs to keep young people learning inthe classroom, not lost on the streets; and summer jobs programs likethis one, to give young people the skills they need to succeed whenthey leave school and to give them something to do and a way to earnmoney during the summer.
I believe all these things are necessary to help all ofyou and people like you all across this country live up to theirGod-given potential. I believe they're necessary to make the Americawe all want in the 21st century.
I am very proud of the fact that today we are enjoyingthe lowest unemployment in 28 years, the lowest crime rate in 25years, the lowest -- (applause) -- we have the smallest percentage ofpeople on welfare in 29 years. And as I've said, we're about to havethe first balanced budget and surplus in 29 years; the highest homeownership in history. I'm proud of that.
But this is a rare moment in American history when wehave a lot of confidence about our ability to make things work inthis country. And we have to use it as an opportunity to act, togive everyone -- everyone -- a chance. We can't let this moment passus by. And we have to make progress, both parties together,especially when it comes to the interest of children, education,employment, and the future.
There are, as you have already heard from previousspeakers, those in Congress who disagree with this agenda. They haveproposed a narrow and much more partisan plan that, in my view, isnot a step into the future, but a step backward. At a time when weshould be increasing our investments in education and training, theirplan actually cuts more than $3 billion from the plan I proposed. Ata time when we should be raising standards and challenging ourstudents to meet them, and helping school districts with a lot ofpoor children to do just that, their plan would prohibit thedevelopment of national tests for our schools. At a time when morechildren enter school now than anytime since my generation -- thebaby boomers were in school -- I have proposed to expand Head Start.Their plan would deny 25,000 children the opportunity to participatein that important early learning program when compared with mybudget.
My America Reads initiative -- which already involvesvolunteer students from 1,000 colleges and universities aroundAmerica, and many churches and other organizations, going into theschools, working with children one on one to make sure they can readindependently by the time they finish the 3rd grade -- it would givethousands more students a chance to have a tutor and to help themlearn. Their plan would cut that program off without a penny.
At a time when we should be helping young people learnthe skills they need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow, their planwould make it harder for 400 of our school districts across Americato buy computers. It would cut $140 million from my proposal toexpand after-school programs that keep young people learning in theclassroom, not lost on the streets, in the hours of prime activityfor juvenile crime. And believe it or not, the House Republicanbudget plan would even kill summer jobs programs like this one nextyear.
I'm sure when you started this program some of youdidn't know how rewarding it would be. I was quite amused to hearwhat Terence said about his experience and the dress code.(Laughter.) But now that you know how rewarding these programs canbe, now that you know that there is no limit to what you can achieveif you continue to work hard and be responsible citizens, you mustsurely know that other young people like you deserve the same chancenext year and that you may need this chance next year.
Today, because of the budget we passed last year thereare half a million young people just like you in summer jobsprograms. And if my budget passes this year, there will be half amillion next year. But if the House Republican budget passes, mostof those children would not have a job next year.
And that's not all the Republicans plan to do away with.At a time when more families have both parents working, their planwould cut nearly $180 million from my proposal to make child carecenters better, safer places for our children. At a time when we arestruggling so hard around the world to protect children from beingabused in other countries -- to send cheap products here -- itundercuts our ability to fight the exploitative practice of childlabor. At a time when our nation is experiencing extremely severeweather, from crippling cold in the winter to record heat waves thathave killed more than 100 people already this summer, the HouseRepublicans want to eliminate the program called LIHEAP that todayhelps millions and millions of families -- millions of families withlow-incomes -- a lot of them very vulnerable older people -- pay forhome heating and this summer for cooling cost.
If this budget were to pass, those folks would be ontheir own. This is a time when we ought to be putting progress aheadof partisanship. We've got all the evidence in the world that whenwe do that it works. Look at how America is doing. The HouseRepublican plan puts politics ahead of people and puts your future inthe back seat. That is wrong. And if a bill like the one that isproposed by the House Republicans passes, I will veto it.(Applause.)
I have sent Congress a balanced budget that proves wecan maintain our budget responsibility and still invest in ourpeople. So far, Congress hasn't passed that budget or one of itsown. Within less than two months they'll have to act because our newbudget year will start. Because of the delay they may decide to sendme a bare-bones budget that fails to expand the critical investmentswe need to make -- from education to summer jobs to schoolmodernization to child care. But the last budget of the 20th centuryshould be preparing our nation for the challenges of the next. Iwill not accept a budget that fails to do this.
There are those in both parties who understand this. Itwas mentioned earlier that Congress, just last Friday night, passedthe Senate bid, the G.I. Bill for America's Workers, thatconsolidates scores and scores of disparate training programs intoone program that will give skills grants to people in their workingyears, to adults who have to go back to school and learn new skills.It was one of the major commitments I made when I ran for Presidentin '92. I have worked for four years on this. So there is thecapacity there to forge this kind of bipartisan relationship. Wehave to do it for summer jobs and for education.
Let me just close with this -- it's not in my notes, butI was looking at Terence up there talking and I thought you mightlike to know that over 30 years ago I was involved in twofederally-funded summer jobs programs. I didn't get to wear a shirtand tie to work, I was working at our National Park in my hometowndoing basic maintenance and clearing work. And then I worked in asummer camp for disadvantaged young people where I was a counselor,after my first year in college. I loved that work and I loved thosekids. And I was very grateful that my country gave me an opportunityto do something productive, to learn something, and to make a littlemoney.
I hope when the history books are written it will looklike a pretty good investment that was made in a young man from amodest family in a small time a long time ago.
You, too, will do great things. And in part, it will bebecause your country has believed in you and invested in you. And Idon't want us to stop. I want us to do more.
Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)