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PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Promoting Progress and Prosperity Among the Nation?s African Americans
"If every American really believed that we were one nation under God; if
every person really believed that we are all created equal; if every person
really believed that we have an obligation to try to draw closer together
and to be better neighbors with others throughout the world, then all the
rest of our problems would more easily melt away. And so I ask you?keep in
your mind?the enormous potential you have to reach the heart and soul of
America, to remind them that we must be one."
-- President Clinton
Remarks to the Congressional Black Caucus
September 20, 1999
EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES:
Historic Economic Gains. The unemployment rate and poverty rate for
African Americans are both at the lowest levels on record, with an average
of 7.7% unemployment rate in the first half of 2000 (down from 14.2% in
1992) and a 26.1% poverty rate in 1998 (down from 33.1% in 1993). Median
household income for African Americans is up 15.1% (or $3,317) since 1993.
Tax Cuts For Working Families. President Clinton and Vice President Gore'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 and Vice President have proposed
expanding the EITC to provide tax relief to 6.4 million additional working
Minimum Wage Increased. The President raised the minimum wage to $5.15 an
hour -- directly benefiting 1.3 million African American workers.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have called for passage of an
additional $1.00 an hour increase.
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. 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.
More Than Three Times the Number of Small Business Loans. Between 1993 and
1999 the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than 13,000
loans to African American entrepreneurs under the 7(a) and 504 loan
programs. In 1999 alone, the SBA granted 2,181 loans, worth $383.2
million, to African American small business owners -- more than three times
the number of loans granted in 1992.
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 that
are creating new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. In the
FY01 budget, the expanded wage credits and tax incentives will extend
economic growth in the existing urban and rural Empowerment Zones and
support the proposed third round of 10 new Empowerment Zones.
Encouraging Investment in Underserved Communities with New Markets.
President Clinton's New Markets Initiative is bringing economic development
and renewal to communities that have not benefited from the soaring
economy. This year, the President is proposing to more than double the New
Markets tax credit to spur $15 billion in new community development
investment in economically distressed areas.
Closing the Digital Divide. Increasing access to technology and bridging
the growing "digital divide" has been a top priority for President Clinton
and Vice President Gore. The Clinton-Gore Administration's FY01 budget
includes a comprehensive initiative to bridge the digital divide, broaden
access to computers and training, and create new opportunity for all
BUILDING ONE AMERICA:
President's One America Initiative. President Clinton has led the nation in
an effort to become One America: a place where we respect others?
differences and embrace the common values that unite us. The President has
been actively involved in public outreach efforts to engage Americans in
this historic effort, and followed up on the work of the Initiative on Race
by appointing Robert B. (Ben) Johnson as Assistant to the President and
Director of the new White House Office on the President?s Initiative for
One America. The office is working to ensure that we have a coordinated
strategy to close the opportunity gaps that exist for minorities and the
underserved in this country, and build the One America we want for all of
our nation?s children.
Preventing Hate Crimes. The President signed the Hate Crimes Sentencing
Enhancement Act, which provides for longer sentences for hate crimes, and
hosted the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes. President Clinton
and Vice President Gore have repeatedly called for passage of the Hate
Crimes Prevention Act in order to strengthen hate crimes laws. 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.
Expanding Civil Rights Enforcement. In FY 2000, President Clinton won a six
percent increase in funding for federal civil rights enforcement agencies
including $82 million for the Civil Rights Division at the Justice
Department, a 19 percent increase. In the FY01 budget, the President and
Vice President have proposed $698 million in funding for civil rights
enforcement agencies, a 13 percent increase, to expand investigations and
prosecutions of criminal civil rights cases (including hate crimes and
police misconduct) and fair housing and lending practices; help the EEOC
reduce the backlog of private-sector cases; and allow HUD to take steps to
reduce housing discrimination.
Working to End Racial Profiling. To help determine where and when racial
profiling occurs, the President 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.
An Administration that Looks Like America. The President has appointed the
most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history, with twice as many
African American appointees as any previous administration. African
Americans make up 12 percent of the Clinton Cabinet, 14 percent of
Administration appointees, and 17 percent of Federal bench nominations.
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 a net undercount
of 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 the
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.
INVESTING IN EDUCATION:
Established the First African American Advisory Board. 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. President Clinton and Vice
President Gore have increased funding for Historically Black Colleges by
over $250 million between FY92 and FY98 -- an increase of nearly 25
percent. Today, America?s 105 HBCUs are educating almost 300,000 African
Record Enrollment. The number of African American high school graduates
going on to college increased from 39 percent in 1983 to 60 percent in 1997
-- the highest number ever.
Proposing the Largest Head Start Expansion in History. Since 1993, the
Clinton-Gore Administration has increased funding for Head Start by 90
percent. The President?s FY01 budget increases funding for Head Start by
another $1 billion ? the largest increase ever proposed for the program ?
to provide Head Start and Early Head Start to approximately 950,000
children. This funding will bring within reach the President?s goal of
serving one million children in 2002 and builds the foundation for the
long-term goal of universal pre-school.
Turning Around Failing Schools. 11 million low-income students now benefit
from Title I- Aid to Disadvantaged Students, and all our children are
benefiting from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to
higher standards. In the 1996-97 school year, 28 percent of the children
benefiting from the Title I program were African American. Last year the
President won $134 million for an 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 and Vice President are proposing to double funding for this fund
to turn around the nation's failing schools to ensure all children receive
a quality education.
Class Size Reduction Initiative. Last year President Clinton and Vice
President Gore won a second installment of $1.3 billion for the President?s
plan to help school districts hire and train an additional 100,000
well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades. Already,
29,000 teachers have been hired through this initiative. This year, the
FY01 budget includes $1.75 billion for this program, an $450 million
increase ? enough to fund about 49,000 teachers.
New Plan to Place Quality Teachers in Underserved Areas. This year, the
President and Vice President 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. It also includes
$50 million for Teacher Quality Rewards, which will reward school districts
that have made exceptional progress in reducing the number of uncertified
teachers and teachers teaching outside their subject area.
Established the GEAR-UP Mentoring Program for Middle School Children. The
President and Vice President created and expanded GEAR-UP, a mentoring
initiative, to help over 750,000 low-income middle school children finish
school and prepare for college. This year the President has proposed a
62.5 percent increase to serve 1.4 million students.
New Tax Incentives to Make College More Affordable. President Clinton and
Vice President Gore have proposed the College Opportunity Tax Cut, which
would give families the option of taking a tax deduction or claiming a 28
percent credit for tuition and fees to pay for higher education. When
fully phased in, this proposal would provide up to $2,800 in tax relief
annually to help American families pay for college.
Helping Students Finish College. This year, the President and Vice
President 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.
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.
IMPROVING OUR NATION'S HEALTH:
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. African American children
make up 25 percent of all uninsured children -- more than twice their
percentage of the overall population. 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, 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.
New Initiative to Expand Health Coverage to Uninsured Americans. This
year, 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.
Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities by 2010. President
Clinton's initiative will help eliminate racial disparities in six key
health areas: infant mortality, diabetes, cancer screening and management,
heart disease, AIDS and immunizations. President Clinton and Vice President
Gore won a 200% increase for this initiative in FY00, and this year they
have proposed $35 million in funding to continue the effort.
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.
Addressing HIV/AIDS in the Minority Community. Minority communities make
up the fastest growing portion of the HIV/AIDS caseload. Last year, the
President won a $210 million investment -- a 45 percent increase -- to
improve prevention efforts in high-risk communities and expand access to
new HIV therapies. This year's budget continues that investment.
MAKING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER:
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 $650 million to continue this work and hire,
train and equip more community police officers.
Calling for Common-Sense Gun Safety Legislation. The President and Vice
President have called on Congress to complete work on common-sense gun
legislation that includes closing the gun show loophole by requiring
background checks and records at gun shows; requiring child safety locks
for handguns sold; banning the importation of large-capacity ammunition
magazines; and banning violent juveniles from owning guns for life.
More than Half a Million Felons, Fugitives and Domestic Abusers Denied
Guns. Since the President signed the Brady Bill into law, more than
536,000 felons, fugitives and domestic abusers have been prevented from
purchasing guns through Brady background checks. This year, the President
and Vice President have proposed a State-based licensing system for handgun
purchases. Under the proposal, every purchaser of a handgun must first
have a valid state-issued photo license, showing that the buyer has passed
a Brady background check and a gun safety training requirement.
Largest Gun Enforcement Initiative in History. This year, President
Clinton and Vice President Gore 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, and fund over 1,000 new federal, state, and
local prosecutors to take dangerous gun offenders off the streets. This
initiative will build on the Administration's success in cracking down on
serious gun criminals: the number of federal firearms cases prosecuted by
the U.S. Attorneys increased 25%, from 4,754 in 1992 to 5,500 in 1999.
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