Statement by the President: Budget Agreement (12/15/00)
                               THE WHITE HOUSE
                        Office of the Press Secretary
   For Immediate Release                                     December 15,

                          STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     I am pleased that Congress and I have reached agreement on a budget
for the coming year.  It is a budget that is fiscally responsible, pays
down the debt, and makes vital investments in our nation?s future.  In
education, health care and community renewal, this budget provides more
opportunity for more Americans than ever before.

     First and foremost, this budget tops eight years of commitment to
education with dramatic new investment in our nation?s schools.  This
includes an historic $1.2 billion initiative to help renovate classrooms in
thousands of school districts across the country.  It includes the largest
increases ever in funding for the Head Start program. It nearly doubles
funding for after school programs ? the largest increase ever.  It
increases by 25 percent funding to meet our goal of hiring 100,000 new,
highly-qualified teachers to reduce class size in the early grades. It
dramatically expands our GEAR UP and TRIO programs to prepare young people
for college. It increases the maximum Pell Grant to an all-time-high of
$3750 ? part of the biggest expansion of college opportunity since the GI
Bill.  And it boosts accountability with more funding for teacher training
and for turning around failing schools. With this budget, we have now
increased funding for the Department of Education by 76 percent since 1993
? and targeted that funding to programs that work.

     Second, in this budget, we're also passing our historic bipartisan new
markets and community renewal initiative -- the most significant effort
ever to help hard-pressed communities lift themselves up through private
investment and entrepreneurship.  With the help of our New Markets tax
credit, 40 strengthened empowerment zones and 40 renewal communities, this
initiative will spur billions of dollars in private investment, and ensure
that every American will share in nation?s economic prosperity.

     Third, this budget reaffirms our longstanding commitment to expand
access to quality health care for all Americans.  It includes a
multi-billion dollar effort to provide low-income children, seniors and
people with disabilities, and those leaving welfare for work, with health
care coverage.  It expands preventive benefits like cancer and glaucoma
screenings for Medicare beneficiaries.  It ensures quality health care
services for those beneficiaries by investing approximately $30 billion in
hospitals, home health agencies, hospices, nursing homes, and managed care
plans.  It will establish a new program to provide families caring for
aging and ill relatives with essential support services, such as adult day
care. It includes a new program to provide people with disabilities with
community-based health care services.    It increases funding for AIDS
prevention, research, and treatment at home and abroad.  It boosts support
for graduate medical education at children?s hospitals, and for food safety
efforts.  It includes new efforts to improve nursing home quality, and a
down payment to eliminate racial health disparities. And it includes a
historic $20.3 billion investment in biomedical research, nearly doubling
since 1993 our investment in the National Institutes of Health.

     Finally, this budget will allow nearly 700,000 immigrants who have
worked, lived, and paid taxes in America for years to stay in the United
States legally without fear of being separated from their families.

     Every year since 1993, I have worked with Congress to craft fiscally
responsible budgets that are true to our values and that invest in the
capacity of the American people to seize the new opportunities of the 21st
Century.  This year?s budget does the same ? by continuing to pay down the
debt, and invest in education, research, health care and other priorities.
I am confident that this budget will help keep our progress strong and our
prosperity going in the years ahead.


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