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Challenging Congress to Act Now on America's Priorities

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White House at Work

Tuesday, September 5, 2000

"We are committed to breaking the legislative logjam. But we have to move forward with fiscal responsibility, with responsible tax cuts, and with public investments that give all our people a chance and fuel our prosperity."

President Bill Clinton
Tuesday, September 5, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton and Democratic leaders challenged Congress to put progress before partisanship and get back to work for the American people. The President called on Republican leaders to move forward on raising the minimum wage, an affordable prescription drug benefit for all Medicare beneficiaries, a meaningful Patients' Bill of Rights, and expanded health care coverage for low-income families. He highlighted the release of two new studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of the Administration's targeted approach to expanding health coverage. The President also urged Congress to pass a fiscally responsible budget that maintains America's prosperity by paying down the debt, provides targeted middle-class tax cuts, and makes key investments in improving education, protecting the environment, and fighting crime.

URGING CONGRESS TO MAINTAIN AND EXPAND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY. President Clinton called on Congress to take actions that will maintain and expand our prosperity for future generations, including:

  • Increasing the minimum wage by $1 to help more than 10 million American workers make ends meet;
  • Providing fiscally responsible, targeted tax cuts including marriage penalty relief and tax credits that reward retirement savings, expand college opportunity, help families with the rising costs of long-term care and child care, and encourage charitable giving; and
  • Maintaining fiscal discipline, which has turned $290 billion in deficits into the largest surpluses in our history and has put us on track to pay off the entire national debt by at least 2012.

HIGHLIGHTING NEW STUDIES ON EXPANDING HEALTH INSURANCE. The President has proposed a new state option to cover millions of uninsured Americans, including families in CHIP Family Care, workers in-between jobs, 55 to 65 year olds, young adults between 19 and 20, and legal immigrants. Two new studies were released today which support the President's approach:

  • A report by the independent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concludes that coverage expansions which include parents increase enrollment among unenrolled, eligible children by nearly 25 percent; and
  • A study by the Council of Economic Advisors confirms that tax approaches such as those advocated by the Republican leadership are inefficient, expensive, and ineffective mechanisms to expand coverage, while policies such as the one proposed by the President would ensure coverage efficiently and effectively.

CHALLENGING CONGRESS TO COMPLETE WORK ON AMERICA'S KEY PRIORITIES. The President called on Congress to move forward on key priorities, including:

  • Providing an affordable, accessible prescription drug benefit option for all Medicare beneficiaries;
  • Enacting a meaningful Patients' Bill of Rights;
  • Providing affordable health insurance coverage for low-income families;
  • Passing a fiscally responsible budget that invests in education and other key priorities;
  • Approving common-sense gun safety legislation; and
  • Passing legislation to prevent hate crimes and combat violence against women.

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