October 25, 2000
Over the past five years, I have written nearly 300 columns, many of them about issues I have cared about and worked on for 30 years. As I look back over the list, I'm struck by the extraordinary opportunity this column has afforded me to bring these important topics to national and even international attention.
Only a few days remain in the 106th Congress, after which members will return to their districts to campaign. Unfortunately, Congress has not yet acted on several important fronts: Members have failed to provide Americans with a Patient's Bill of Rights; they have not passed targeted tax credits for long-term care givers; and they have yet to pass the appropriations bill that would fund our education and child care proposals.
Congressional action has shown, though, that the spirit of bipartisanship can lead to the passage of important legislation, much of which I have written about in this space.
One example is the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act, an important bill passed by Congress last week, aimed at ending two heinous practices: trafficking and violence against women. At my request, members of my staff led an interagency effort to win passage of this bill, which will ensure vital assistance for victims, and provide important new tools and resources to help bring an end to the sale of women and children.
Congress also reauthorized and strengthened the Violence Against Women Act, adding new protections and assistance for battered women, reauthorizing the domestic violence hot line, and helping to improve interstate enforcement of protection orders.
In June, when VAWA was winning scant attention on Capitol Hill, I stood with a group of law enforcement officers and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to urge its passage. Since then, my staff has worked tirelessly with members of the administration and lawmakers to make sure that ending violence against women stayed at the top of their agenda, ultimately ensuring not just the bill's survival, but also its new and stronger provisions.
On the health front, Congress passed legislation expanding the Medicaid treatment options for low-income, uninsured women with breast or cervical cancer. For eight years, I have worked with the National Breast Cancer Coalition, first to create a National Action Plan on Breast Cancer, and then later with the President, to bring much-needed federal support to the fight against cancer.
Many of our children will be healthier and better off thanks to passage of the Children's Health Act. Signed by the President last week, this bill includes grants to improve the safety and health of children in day care. In 1997, the President and I hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Child Care, an event that highlighted the critical shortage of high-quality, affordable day care in this country. The following January, the President, in his State of the Union address, unveiled a child care initiative similar to the one he signed last week. Like the President's proposal, the Children's Health Act includes funds to train child care providers, improve health and safety standards, and strengthen enforcement mechanisms.
Parents hoping to adopt will also be pleased by recent Congressional and administration efforts on their behalf. Earlier this month, the President signed the Intercountry Adoption Act, based on a Hague Convention negotiated by the U.S. and 65 other countries. In response to abuses in the foreign adoption process -- including the trafficking of children -- and, in light of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign children being adopted by American families, I have been a strong supporter of this convention. It establishes important protections for internationally adopted children, as well as for their birth and adoptive parents.
Congress also passed important legislation that will continue and expand microcredit assistance for the world's poorest entrepreneurs, many of whom are women. My enthusiasm for microcredit dates back to my years in Arkansas, when my husband and I introduced some of the first microenterprise programs in the United States. I have spoken out on microcredit many times, and my enthusiasm has infected my staff, who have worked hard to secure passage of this bill.
Finally, our children and arts education got a boost from lawmakers. A longtime arts supporter, I am a true believer in the importance of arts education, so I was pleased to see approval of the first significant increase in the National Endowment for the Arts budget since the Republican takeover of Congress six years ago.
Over the past seven years, we have seen partisan politics scuttle important legislation -- even a bill as popular as the President's proposal to keep guns out of the hands of children. In these last few days of the 106th Congress, I hope the spirit of bipartisanship is the spirit that prevails -- and that our lawmakers use this time to pass legislation that matters to the American people.
To find out more about Hillary Rodham Clinton and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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Talking It Over: 2000
December 13, 2000: Column on Trip to Ireland and Vital Voices Announcement
December 6, 2000: Column on Passing Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Bill
November 29, 2000: Column on "An Invitation to the White House: At Home With History"
November 22, 2000: Column on Trip to Vietnam
November 15, 2000: Column on the 200th Anniversary of the White House
November 8, 2000: Column on New York Senate Race
November 1, 2000: Column on the Importance of Voting
October 18, 2000: Column on Trafficking of Women and Children
October 11, 2000: Column on Microenterprise for Self-Reliance Act
October 4, 2000: Column on Reauthorization of AmeriCorps National Service Program
September 27, 2000: Column on Reauthorization of VAWA
September 20, 2000: Column on Ritalin
September 13, 2000: Column on Youth Violence and the Entertainment Industry
September 6, 2000: Column on Expanding Healthcare Benefits
August 30, 2000: Column on Making Education Our #1 Priority
August 23, 2000: Column on Pine Ridge, New Markets Tour
August 16, 2000: Column on Decision 2000
August 9, 2000: Column on the Congressional and Presidential Tax Plans
August 2, 2000: Column on Newborn Hearing Screening
July 26, 2000: Column on the 10th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act
July 19, 2000 : Column on Treasures Visit to Ellis Island
July 12, 2000: Column on Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors
July 5, 2000: Column on the Ninth Millennium Evening,
June 27, 2000: Column on Quality Education for Hispanic Youth
June 21, 2000: Column on Save America's Treasures: Val Kil Cottage, New York
June 14, 2000: Column on the Violence Against Women Act
May 31, 2000: Column on National Trails Day
May 24, 2000: Column on National Moment of Remembrance
May 17, 2000: Column on Howard Theater
May 10, 2000: Column on Million Mom March
May 3, 2000: Column on the White House Conference on Teenagers
April 26, 2000: Column on Arbor Day
April 19, 2000: Column on Earth Day
April 12, 2000: Column on International Family Planning
April 5, 2000: Column on Women Entrepreneurs and Microcredit
March 29, 2000: Column on Teen Smoking
March 22, 2000: Column on Pediatric Drugs
March 15, 2000: Column on Child Support
March 8, 2000: Column on Children and Guns
March 1, 2000: Column on Teacher Training, Recruitment and Retention
February 23, 2000: Column on D.C. Campaign to prevent Teen Pregnancy Launch
February 16, 2000: Column on Vital Voices Event at the White House
February 9, 2000: Column on Prescription Drug Coverage
February 2, 2000: Column on Child Care
January 26, 2000: Column on College Opportunity
January 19, 2000: Column on Human Trafficking
January 12, 2000: Column on Housing Vouchers and Affordable Housing
January 5, 2000: Column on the New Millennium
December 20, 2000: Column on Presidential Interagency Council on Women
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