| PRESIDENT CLINTON URGES CONGRESS TO WORK DAY AND NIGHT TO FINISH ITS |
| WORK FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES |
| October 27, 2000 |
Today, President Clinton will again urge Congress to come together in a
bipartisan process and pass a tax bill he can sign. Nearly one month past
the end of the fiscal year, Congress has passed seven extensions but still
has not completed a budget. On almost half of the 27 days since this
fiscal year began, Congress has failed to do any work for the American
people. President Clinton is now granting additional extensions one day at
a time to ensure that Congress stays in town and completes its business,
passing a tax bill for middle-class families, finishing a fiscally
responsible budget that invests in education, and enacting other national
PRESIDENT CLINTON IS WORKING TO FIND BIPARTISAN COMMON GROUND ON TAX RELIEF
FOR MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES AND WILL URGE CONGRESS TO BEGIN BIPARTISAN
NEGOTIATIONS. On Wednesday, President Clinton offered Speaker Hastert and
Majority Leader Lott a tax package that?in recognition of the reality that
both sides must compromise to reach an agreement?reflected the priorities
of both parties. But yesterday, in a largely partisan vote, the U.S. House
of Representatives passed a tax bill that ignores key priorities for
America. Despite President Clinton?s efforts to find compromise, the
Republicans package falls short. First, the Republican school construction
provisions fall far short of both the great national need for school
modernization and the help that would be provided by the bipartisan
Johnson-Rangel proposal. They would sacrifice thousands of modernized
schools to pay for inefficient tax incentives that help only a few.
Second, although President Clinton?s proposal included both Democratic and
Republican priorities on health care, the Republican bill completely
ignores the President?s proposal to cover millions of uninsured working
Americans; includes only half of the benefits of his long-term care tax
credit; and excludes the bipartisan credit for vaccine research and
purchases. Finally, it makes virtually no attempt to address the
Administration?s concerns about the pension provisions by failing to
address the lack of pension coverage for over 70 million people and
potentially creating new incentives for employers to drop pension coverage.
THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL ALSO IGNORES CRITICAL MEDICARE/MEDICAID PRIORITIES.
The Republican legislation insists on an unjustifiable spending increase
for HMOs at the same time it excludes bipartisan policies such as health
insurance options for children with disabilities, legal immigrant pregnant
women and children, simplifying eligibility and enrollment in Medicaid and
SCHIP, and needed payment increases to hospitals, academic health centers,
home health agencies, and other vulnerable providers. President Clinton
will insist that Congress not go home before responding to the urgent
health needs of our seniors, people with disabilities, and children and the
health care providers who serve them.
IN ADDITION, PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL CALL ON CONGRESS TO FINISH THE BUDGET
NOW, INVEST IN EDUCATION, AND ACT ON THE REST OF AMERICA?S UNFINISHED
BUSINESS. Before leaving town, Congress should:
? RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE. Raising the minimum wage by $1 over two years
would help more than 10 million workers make ends meet. At a time when we
are experiencing the longest economic expansion in history, the proposed $1
increase would return the real value of the minimum wage to the level it
was in 1982. It would give full-time workers an annual raise of about
$2,000 a year, enough money to pay for nearly seven months of groceries or
five months of rent. Approximately 33 percent of minimum-wage workers rely
on their income to support children under 18.
? FINISH A BUDGET AND INVEST IN EDUCATION. In February, President
Clinton and Vice President Gore sent Congress a balanced and fiscally
responsible budget that makes investments in key priorities, such as
education. So far, Congress has not acted on legislation to meet the full
? School modernization. President Clinton proposed to create $25
billion in bonds to build and modernize 6,000 schools and a $1.3 billion
initiative for urgent school repairs;
? Expanded after-school opportunities. President Clinton proposed $1
billion to support 8,000 extended learning centers serving nearly 2.5
? Class-size reduction. President Clinton proposed $1.75 billion to help
school districts hire 20,000 new teachers and support the 29,000 teachers
already hired under the Class-Size Reduction initiative;
? Improved teacher quality. President Clinton proposed a $1 billion
initiative to improve teacher quality through teacher professional
development, recruitment, and rewards;
? Turning around failing schools. The President?s $250 million
accountability fund would help states and school districts to turn around
low-performing schools and hold them accountable for results.
? PROVIDE AN AFFORDABLE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT OPTION FOR ALL
MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES. Three out of five Medicare beneficiaries have
inadequate or no prescription drug coverage. In the context of broader
reform that ensures that Medicare revenues are only used for Medicare, the
President has proposed a voluntary, affordable, Medicare prescription drug
benefit for all beneficiaries.
? ENACT A MEANINGFUL PATIENT'S BILL OF RIGHTS. The majority of the U.S.
Senate supports a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights, similar to
the bipartisan Norwood-Dingell plan. However, the Republican leadership
continues to support an alternative that leaves over 135 million people
without protections and doesn?t assure that plans are held accountable when
they make decisions that harm patients.
? PASS HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION. The President will urge Congress to
send him meaningful legislation to allow federal prosecution of hate crimes
based on gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
? ENSURE EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN. The President?s $47 million Equal Pay
Initiative would train employers on wage discrimination; train women in
nontraditional jobs; and support apprenticeships and industry partnerships.
Within this initiative, the National Science Foundation will invest $20
million to remove barriers to career advancement for women scientists and
engineers. The President will also urge Congress to pass the "The Paycheck
Fairness Act," introduced by Senator Tom Daschle and Congresswoman Rosa
DeLauro, to strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination.
? INSIST ON FAIRNESS FOR IMMIGRANTS. The President will reiterate his
commitment to fairness for immigrants who have been in this country for
years, working hard and paying taxes, by enacting the Latino and Immigrant
Fairness Act (LIFA) and restoring critical nutrition assistance and health
benefits for legal immigrants.
? PROTECT OUR NATION?S YOUTH AND HOLD TOBACCO COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE.
The President will call on Congress to provide the funds necessary to
support the Department of Justice?s tobacco litigation so we can hold the
tobacco companies accountable for the harm they?ve caused and give the
American people their day in court.
? COMPLETE ITS WORK ON NATIONAL SERVICE. The President and 49 of the 50
governors have called on Congress to pass the reauthorization of AmeriCorps
and other critical national service programs this year. This
reauthorization would reaffirm and strengthen our nation?s commitment to
national service and build on the far-reaching benefits of the national
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