Fact Sheet: President Clinton urging Congress to put progress over partisanship in addressing America's priorities (10/6/00)
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|  PRESIDENT CLINTON:  URGING CONGRESS TO PUT PROGRESS OVER PARTISANSHIP  |
|                   IN ADDRESSING AMERICA?S PRIORITIES                    |
|                             October 6, 2000                             |
|                                                                         |
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Today,  President  Clinton will sign a second Continuing Resolution to keep
the  government  open  and  urge  Congress to get down to work by passing a
budget  that  addresses America?s priorities.  Last February, the President
proposed  a fiscally responsible budget that maintains America's prosperity
by  paying  down  the  debt,  providing  targeted middle-class tax cuts and
making key investments in improving education, promoting national security,
protecting  the  environment, and fighting crime.  Nearly one week into the
new  fiscal  year,  the  Republican Congress has completed only three of 13
spending  bills,  but  has  managed  to  strip away critical legislation to
outlaw  hate  crimes  and  gut  the  prescription  drug import legislation.
Meanwhile,  Congress?s  deadline  has  been  extended twice and Congress is
loading  spending  bills with election-year projects for special interests.
President  Clinton  will  call  on  Congress  to maintain our prosperity by
passing  a fiscally responsible budget that invests in key initiatives.  He
will  also  urge  Congress  to enact other important legislation to prevent
hate crimes and address other priorities.

CONGRESS  SHOULD  PUT  PROGRESS  OVER  PARTISANSHIP IN ADDRESSING AMERICA?S
PRIORITIES.   President  Clinton  will  do  his  part to avoid a government
shutdown  by  signing  a  second  Continuing  Resolution to fund government
operations while Congress finishes the budget.  He will call on Congress to
complete  its  work  and  pass  a  budget  that  funds  important  national
initiatives, including:

?  INVESTING IN EDUCATION. The President's budget includes important
investments in education, such as modernizing 6,000 schools and repairing
5,000 more each year for five years, keeping our commitment to hire 100,000
quality teachers to reduce class size, funding teacher training to help put
qualified teachers in every classroom, strengthening accountability by
identifying and turning around failing schools, increasing after-school
opportunities, and preparing at-risk youth for college success.  Congress
does not guarantee funding to continue hiring 100,000 qualified teachers to
reduce class size and provides only $600 million of the President's $1
billion request to create more after-school learning opportunities.  It
shortchanges teacher quality and recruitment programs and does not help
ensure a qualified teacher in every classroom.  Congress denies 600,000
disadvantaged students the opportunity to prepare for college through GEAR
UP by freezing funding at $200 million, $125 million below the President's
request.  Finally, Congress fails to institute real accountability to turn
around failing schools.

?  PUTTING MORE POLICE ON OUR STREETS AND FIGHTING GUN VIOLENCE.  The
President?s budget includes $1.3 billion for a 21st Century Policing
Initiative that will put up to 50,000 more officers on our nation?s streets
by 2005 and provide for law enforcement technology; new community
prosecutors; and community-wide crime prevention.  To date, the Congress
has underfunded the President?s request by more than one-third.  The
President?s budget also provides $280 million for a National Gun
Enforcement Initiative?the largest of its kind in U.S. history?to fund 500
new ATF firearms agents and inspectors; over 1,000 federal, state, and
local gun prosecutors; expanded crime gun tracing; the first ever national
ballistics testing network; local anti-gun violence media campaigns; and
smart-gun research.  So far, Congress has failed to fund over half of this
initiative, including the 1,000 more state and local gun prosecutors and
smart-gun research.

?  PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT.  The President?s budget supports important
initiatives to protect the public health and the environment by promoting
healthy air, safe food and clean water and addressing climate change.
Included among these initiatives are major regional efforts to restore
rivers, lakes and other water resources such as the salmon runs of the
Pacific Northwest and the Florida Everglades.  The President has also
called upon Congress to send him legislation and spending bills free of
anti-environmental riders that weaken public health and environmental
protections, undercut efforts to combat global climate change, and
surrender public lands to private interests.

?  PROVIDING ENERGY SECURITY.  Congress has not completed enacting any of
the four key components of President Clinton?s comprehensive energy
strategy to ensure secure and reliable energy supplies while reducing
pollution and emissions that contribute to climate change.  The President?s
plan includes $1.7 billion for the Department of Energy to support cleaner
and more efficient sources of domestic energy and for EPA research and
promote voluntary energy efficiency efforts. It also includes legislation
to create tax credits for energy security, improving the reliability and
affordability of the power grid through restructuring, and reauthorizing
the Energy Policy Conservation Act, including the Regional Home Heating
Reserve.

?  ENSURING THAT ALL AMERICANS SHARE IN OUR PROSPERITY. House and Senate
Republicans have made deep cuts to President Clinton's proposals to bridge
the digital divide, including (1) eliminating funding for a $50 million
proposal that would provide home Internet access for low-income families;
(2) cutting in half the Administration's $100 million initiative to create
Community Technology Centers in low-income neighborhoods; (3) slashing by
two-thirds the Administration's $45 million proposal to support innovative
applications of information technology for underserved communities; and (4)
refusing to help support welfare recipients and low-income families save in
an Individual Development Account for a car that will help them get or keep
a job.  President Clinton is also working to assure authorization and
funding for the programs in the New Markets/Community Renewal Agreement
with Speaker Hastert, including $200 million for Round 2 Empowerment Zones;
$37 million for America's Private Investment Companies; and $58.3 million
for SBA's New Market Venture Capital and BusinessLINC programs.

?  PUTTING PUBLIC HEALTH BEFORE SPECIAL INTERESTS.  President Clinton
supports the Department of Justice?s litigation to hold the tobacco
companies accountable for deceiving the American public, particularly
youth, about the dangers of tobacco.  In light of the clear ruling last
week by a U.S. District Court allowing the case to go to trial, Congress
should reject special protections shielding tobacco companies from the
financial responsibility for the harm they?ve caused and instead provide
the funds necessary to let the American people have their day in court.

?  ADDRESSING THE NATION?S HEALTH CARE PRIORITIES.  The President has
proposed new options to cover millions of uninsured parents and their
children in CHIP, workers in between jobs, 55- to 65-year-olds, young
adults between 19 and 20, and legal immigrants.  Studies show that the
President?s proposals do more to increase coverage than tax approaches
advocated by the Republican leadership.  The House and Senate have both
refused to fund the President?s $76 billion effort to help insure working
families.  In addition, Congress has failed to enact the President?s
historic long-term care initiative, which invests $28.6 billion over 10
years in a long-term care tax credit.  Congress should also reauthorize the
Older Americans Act and strengthen it by investing $1.25 billion over 10
years in a new Family Caregivers program.

?  PROTECTING CIVIL RIGHTS AND WORKING FOR EQUAL PAY.  This year, President
Clinton requested a 13 percent increase to improve civil rights
enforcement, bringing the federal commitment to more than $1 billion per
year.  This initiative provides resources for stepped-up civil rights
enforcement, education and outreach at the Departments of Justice,
Education, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Housing and Urban
Development.  The House has cut $136 million from the President?s request,
while the Senate cut $108 million.  Congress has also failed to fund $10
million for the President?s Equal Pay Initiative at the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission to fight wage discrimination and provide training to
employers on equal pay requirements.

?  EXPANDING FAMILY PLANNING. The President?s budget would allow family
planning clinics to provide reproductive health services and clinical care
to over 5 million low-income women.  It would also prevent over a million
unintended pregnancies per year through comprehensive reproductive health
services, including sexually-transmitted disease and cancer screening, HIV
prevention and counseling, programs to discourage adolescent sexual
activity, and contraceptive counseling and services.  The President?s
budget requested $274 million for this initiative, but the preliminary
conference report provides only $239 million.

?  PROTECTING OUR NATIONAL SECURITY AND ADVANCING U.S. LEADERSHIP IN THE
WORLD.  The President requested $836 million to fully fund our contribution
to the International Development Association, (IDA) the concessional
lending arm of the World Bank, to clear our arrears and help poor
developing countries invest in HIV/AIDS prevention and other health,
education, and social infrastructure programs needed for lasting poverty
reduction.   Second, the President requested $830 million to reduce the
threat of weapons of mass destruction, encourage citizen exchange programs,
and help local governments and non-governmental organizations in the former
Soviet Union promote democratic and economic reform.  Third, the President
requested $275 million to continue progress towards the congressional
target of 10,000 Peace Corps volunteers and provide needed technology
upgrades.  Fourth, Congress should fully fund the $846 million request for
UN peacekeeping missions critical to successful diplomatic efforts to
prevent violence and work to end the conflicts in Europe, the Middle East,
Africa and elsewhere.  Finally, the President has requested $11 billion to
combat terrorism and other threats, including $1.1 billion to raise the
level of security at embassies.  Congress has failed to fund nearly $5
billion of the request and has eliminated resources to prepare local
terrorism law enforcement and protect the nations critical infrastructure
systems.

?  PROVIDING DEBT RELIEF TO FUND AMERICA?S INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATION TO HELP
FIGHT GLOBAL POVERTY. To help fight global poverty that leaves over one
billion people surviving on less than $1 a day, President Clinton requested
$435 million to live up to the expanded international debt relief efforts
announced at the Cologne G-8 Summit.  Already, Congress? inaction has
stalled relief for Bolivia and Honduras.  This summer the House took a good
step by approving an amendment offered by Rep. Waters to provide $225
million; the Senate has included only $75 million in their bill.  However,
the President?s full request is needed to keep the program from stalling
out next year.

GETTING RESULTS BY PUTTING PROGRESS OVER PARTISANSHIP.  This year, Congress
and  the  President  have  succeeded  whenever  they  have sat down to work
together and emphasize policy, not politics.  By working together, we are:

?  CONSERVING AMERICA?S LANDS.  Congress passed a bipartisan agreement
doubling our conservation investment next year, and guaranteeing even
greater funding in the years ahead, to ensure that communities have the
resources they need to protect their most precious lands - from
neighborhood parks to threatened farmland to pristine coastlands.
Increased support for conservation, preservation, and infrastructure
improvement includes a total of $1.2 billion in the Interior Appropriations
bill, an increase of almost 90 percent over this year.  The bill also
creates a new "conservation spending" category - protected from being spent
on any other programs" for state and local needs and for maintaining
existing parks and other conservation and recreation areas.

?  ENHANCING MILITARY READINESS.  Nine months ago, the Administration set
enhancing the current high level of readiness as its top defense priority.
The FY 2001 budget fully funds key compensation initiatives, including the
Administration?s requests for a 3.7 percent pay increase for military
personnel, training, spare parts, equipment maintenance, and base
operations. The bill also fully funds key modernization programs such as
the F-22 fighter aircraft and the CVN-77 Nuclear Aircraft Carrier.

?  SAVING LIVES BY PREVENTING DRUNK DRIVING. Congress has also reached
agreement on a critical measure to help set a nationwide impaired driving
standard of .08 blood alcohol content.  This common-sense nationwide limit
will save an estimated 500 lives a year and prevent thousands of injuries.

?  PROMOTING THE ARTS IN AMERICA.  This year President Clinton proposed to
expand resources for the National Endowment for the Arts to provide support
for the important cultural, educational and artistic programs for
communities across America.  Working together, the President and the
Congress were able to increase funding for the NEA to $105 million, a $7
million boost over last year?s funding level and the first significant
increase in the six years since the Republicans took control of the
Congress.

?  MEETING THE NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF HARD-PRESSED WORKING FAMILIES.
Congress has agreed to enact the President?s proposal to change the food
stamps law to make it easier for 245,000 people to own a reliable car and
still be eligible for food stamps.  A second change in the law will help
over 2 million people by ensuring that the food stamp program recognizes
the high housing costs faced by many low-income working families.

PRESIDENT  CLINTON  WILL ALSO CALL ON CONGRESS TO COMPLETE OTHER UNFINISHED
BUSINESS.   Congress  should not adjourn without passing legislation on key
American  priorities.  In addition to passing the remaining spending bills,
President Clinton will call on Congress to:
?  Pass meaningful hate crimes legislation;
?  Increase the minimum wage by $1 over two years;
?  Provide an affordable, accessible, and voluntary prescription drug
benefit option for all Medicare beneficiaries;
?  Enact a real Patients? Bill of Rights;
?  Approve common-sense gun safety legislation;
?  Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act;
?  Reauthorize the Corporation for National Service Act;
?  Pass the Breast Cancer and Cervical Treatment Act; and
?  Reform immigration law to treat immigrants more fairly.

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