PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Working for American Women
Expanding Economic Opportunity
Moving From Record Deficits to Record Surplus. In 1992, the deficit was $290 billion, a record dollar high. In 2000, we have a projected budget surplus of at least $230 billion -- the third consecutive surplus and the largest surplus ever, even after adjusting for inflation. This is the first time we have had three surpluses in a row in more than 50 years.
More than 22 Million New Jobs. 22.1 million new jobs have been created since 1993, the most jobs ever created under a single Administration -- and more new jobs than Presidents Reagan and Bush created during their three terms. 92 percent (20 million) of the new jobs have been created in the private sector, the highest percentage in 50 years. [National Economic Council, 7/29/00]
Tax Cuts for Working Families. 15 million additional working families received additional tax relief because of the President's expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. In 1998, the EITC lifted 4.3 million people out of poverty – double the number lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993. This year, the President proposed expanding the EITC to provide tax relief to an additional 6.8 million hard-pressed working families.
Highest Median Family Income in History. Since the President launched his economic plan in 1993, median family income is the highest it has ever been. The typical family's income is up over $6,300 since 1993. Income for median households rose $1,072, or 2.7 percent, from $39,744 in 1998 to $40,816 in 1999, marking an unprecedented fifth year of significant growth in income and the first time in history household income rose above $40,000.
Highest Homeownership Rate in History. The homeownership rate reached 67.2 percent in the second quarter of 2000 -- the highest ever recorded. In contrast, the homeownership rate fell from 65.6 percent in the first quarter of 1981 to 63.7 percent in the first quarter of 1993. There are almost 9 million more homeowners than in 1993. Women's homeownership has increased 14 percent, with 1.9 million new women homeowners since the first quarter of 1994.
Helping Parents Balance Work and Family. The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- the first piece of legislation the President signed into law -- enables workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a new baby or ailing family member without jeopardizing their job. Since its enactment, millions of Americans have benefited from FMLA, and the President has expanded leave options for Federal employees. President Clinton has called for extending this benefit to 12 million more working families and expanding the law to allow workers to take leave for family obligations such as doctors appointments and parent-teacher conferences. Additionally, in his FY 2001 budget, the President is proposing new grants to enable states and regions to develop innovative paid leave options for working parents.
Fighting for Fair Pay. The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to ensure fair pay for women and close the wage gap. The average woman who works full-time now earns about 75 cents for each dollar that an average man earns. The President and Vice President have called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination. This year, the President has proposed a $27 million initiative to help the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and the Labor Department fight wage discrimination.
Increased the Minimum Wage. The President raised the minimum wage to $5.15 per hour, increasing wages for six million women. This year, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have called on Congress to pass an additional $1.00 per hour increase in the minimum wage.
Doubled Child Support Collections. President Clinton signed into law the toughest child support crackdown in history. Federal and state child support programs broke new records in 1999, collecting nearly $16 billion -- double the amount collected in 1992. The number of paternities established was at a record 1.5 million in 1999 – more than triple the number from 516,000 in 1992. The number of child support cases with collections more than doubled during the Clinton Administration, from 2.8 million in 1992 to 6.1 million in 1999. [HHS Child Support Enforcement FY1999 Preliminary Data Report, 10/00]
Expanding Business Opportunities for Women
Tripled the Number of Small Business Loans to Women Entrepreneurs. Between FY 1992 and FY 1999 the SBA approved nearly 73,000 loans, amounting to more than $11 billion, to women entrepreneurs under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. In FY 1999 alone, the Small Business Administration granted 10,244 loans, worth $1.85 billion, to women small business owners, triple the number of loans granted in 1992; in FY 2000 to date the SBA has approved 3,612 loans worth $711 million dollars. [As of 2/00]
More Women Starting Businesses. Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of all businesses and staying in business longer. There are an estimated 9.1 million women-owned firms today, employing 27.5 million people and contributing $3.6 trillion in sales and revenue to the U.S. economy. The Small Business Administration's Office of Women's Business Ownership is working to foster this growth.
Expanded Small Business Opportunities for Women. The Clinton-Gore Administration won $9 million in FY 2000 for Women's Business Centers, which provide resources to foster increased entrepreneurship among women. In his FY 2001 budget, President Clinton has proposed to expand the Women's Business Center network budget to $12 million, an increase of 33 percent. Today this network includes more than 80 women's business centers, including an Online Women's Business Center. In May 2000, President Clinton issued an executive order requiring departments and agencies to develop long-term comprehensive strategies to expand opportunities for women-owned small businesses, including mentor-protégé programs to include women-owned firms and industry-wide -- and industry-specific -- outreach, training, and technical assistance programs for women-owned small businesses. [Executive Order 13157, 5/23/00]
Interagency Committee on Women's Business Enterprise. The Committee is comprised of policymaking officials from various federal departments and agencies. The Committee develops public sector initiatives designed to foster women's business enterprise, consults with the National Women's Business Council, and reviews public sector programs relating to women-owned businesses.
Strengthening Retirement Security
Saving Social Security. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have coupled fiscal discipline with a commitment to preserve and protect Social Security. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the life of the Social Security trust fund has been extended to 2037. President Clinton has proposed extending the program's solvency to at least 2054 by paying down the national debt and dedicating the interest savings to Social Security. In April 2000, President Clinton signed legislation to eliminate the confusing and out-dated Retirement Earnings Test in order to encourage work and earnings for older Americans. These steps would be a down payment on truly saving Social Security.
Social Security Reform is Critical to Women. Women live an average of six years longer than men, and because they live longer they become increasingly dependent on Social Security benefits as they age. Women represent 60 percent of all Social Security recipients at age 65, and by age 85, 71 percent of recipients are women. Social Security provides 90 percent of income for 41 percent of all older women; 25 percent have no other source of income. The poverty rate among elderly women is twice the poverty rate among seniors as a whole. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to reforming Social Security in a manner that will ensure fairness and reduce the poverty rate of single elderly women.
Increasing Pension Security. President Clinton proposed and signed the Retirement Protection Act of 1994, protecting the benefits of more than 40 million American workers and retirees. The President also signed the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, which provided a tax credit to small business that adopt pension plans; created a simplified and better defined contribution plan for small businesses; and promoted portability.
Investing in Education
More High-Quality Teachers with Smaller Class Sizes. The Clinton-Gore Administration won a second installment of $1.3 billion for the President's plan to hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades, when children learn to read and master the basic skills. Already, 29,000 teachers have been hired through this initiative. This year's budget provides $1.75 billion, a $450 million increase -- enough to fund nearly 49,000 teachers.
Turning Around Failing Schools. 11 million low-income students now benefit from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to higher standards through Title I-Aid to Disadvantaged Students. The FY 2000 budget provides a $134 million 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 is proposing to double funding for this fund to turn around the nation's failing schools to ensure all children receive a quality education.
Protecting Title IX. The Clinton-Gore Administration firmly supports and enforces Title IX, which has enabled young women to participate fully in high school and college athletics. When Title IX was passed more than 25 years ago, only 300,000 girls participated in high school sports. In 1999, well over two million participated. In June 2000, on the anniversary of Title IX, President Clinton issued an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination in federal education and training programs -- ensuring that the federal government holds itself to the same principles of nondiscrimination that it applies to the education programs and activities of state and local governments, and to private institutions receiving federal financial assistance. [Executive Order 13160, 6/23/00]
Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for 850,000 Students Each Year. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provides enriching after-school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities in FY 2000. Extended learning time has not only been shown to increase achievement in reading and math, but to decrease youth violence and drug use. Funding for this program more than doubled from FY 1999 to FY 2000. For FY 2001, the President's budget calls on Congress to invest $1 billion in the 21st Century Program and to ensure that all children in failing schools have access to quality after-school and summer school opportunities. This proposal will double funding and nearly triple the number of students served to 2.5 million.
Enacted Hope Scholarships and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits. President Clinton proposed and passed the HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning tax credits, which in 1999 were claimed by an estimated 10 million American families paying for college. The Hope Scholarship helps make the first two years of college universally available by providing a tax credit of up to $1,500 for tuition and fees for the first two years of college. The Lifetime Learning tax credit provides a 20 percent tax credit on the first $5,000 of tuition and fees for students beyond the first two years of college, or taking classes part-time (in 2003, this increases to $10,000 of tuition and fees). In his FY 2001 budget, the President has proposed expanding the Lifetime Learning tax credit with a College Opportunity tax cut, which will give families the option of taking a tax deduction or claiming a 28 percent credit for the first $5,000 of college tuition and fees through 2002, and $10,000 thereafter.
Expanding Work Study and Pell Grants. One million students will be able to work their way through college because of the President's expansion of the Work Study Program, and nearly four million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,300, the largest maximum award ever. The maximum award has increased 43 percent under the Clinton-Gore Administration. This year President Clinton proposed a $77 million increase in Work Study to continue to support one million awards, and a $200 increase in the Pell Grant maximum award, to raise it to $3,500.
Improving Our Nation's Health
Protected and Strengthened Medicare, Benefiting 22 Million American Women. In the 1997 Balanced Budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration protected, modernized and extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund while offering new options for patient choice and preventive care. New preventive benefits passed include coverage of annual mammograms, cervical cancer screening, and tests to help detect osteoporosis. The President proposed a plan to reform and modernize Medicare's benefits, including an optional prescription drug benefit that is affordable and available to all beneficiaries. The President has also proposed a reserve fund to help Medicare beneficiaries with extremely high prescription drug costs. In March 1999, the Medicare Trustees reported that the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended until 2025. In 1993, Medicare was expected to run out of money in 1999.
Increased Funding for Breast Cancer Research. Since President Clinton and Vice President took office, funding for breast cancer research, prevention and treatment has more than doubled. This year, the Administration's budget will provide $27 million in funding -- a 56 percent increase -- to learn more about environmental causes of diseases like breast cancer. In addition, the President has implemented the Mammography Quality Standards Act to ensure the quality of mammograms. Women can now find a certified mammography facility by calling 1-800-4-CANCER.
Providing Protection with the Patients' Bill of Rights. The President and Vice President have called on Congress to pass Federally enforceable consumer health care protections that include: guaranteed access to needed health care specialists including direct access to an OB-GYN; access to emergency room services when and where the need arises; access to a timely internal and independent external appeals process for consumers to resolve their differences with their health plans; and assurances that doctors and patients can openly discuss treatment options. Women are particularly vulnerable without these health care protections because they are greater users of health care services, they make three-quarters of the health care decisions for their families, and they have specific health care needs that are directly addressed by a patients' bill of rights. Leading by example, the President directed all federal agencies to ensure that their employees and beneficiaries have the benefits and rights guaranteed under the proposed Patients' Bill of Rights. 85 million Americans covered by federal health plans have the security of knowing they will have fair access to health care thanks to the President's work.
Ending Genetic Discrimination. President Clinton signed an executive order banning the use of genetic information in federal hiring and promotion actions and strengthening privacy protections of federal employees' genetic information. The Clinton-Gore Administration has urged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to prohibit health plans from inappropriately using genetic screening information to deny coverage, set premiums, or to distribute confidential information. The President also has supported legislation that ensures that employers do not use genetic information to discriminate against employees.
Passed Meaningful Health Insurance Reform. The President signed into law the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which helps individuals keep health insurance when they change jobs, guarantees renewability of coverage, and ensures access to health insurance for small businesses. As many as 25 million people will benefit from this law. The bill also eliminated the discriminatory tax treatment the of the approximately 10 million Americans who are self-employed; strengthened efforts to combat health care fraud, waste and abuse by creating a stable source of funding; and provided consumer protections and tax incentives for private long-term care insurance.
Ended Drive-Through Deliveries. President Clinton proposed and signed into law legislation requiring insurers to cover at least 48 hours of a post-natal hospital stay (72 hours for a Cesarean).
Endorsed Legislation That Would Ban Drive-Through Mastectomies. President Clinton endorsed the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which would allow women to stay in the hospital at least 48 hours following a mastectomy.
Promoting Reproductive Health Services for Women
Expanding Family Planning Services. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have taken strong steps to promote safe reproductive health services for women. They won a nearly $25 million increase for Title X family planning, the largest increase since 1993, bringing the program to almost $240 million in FY 2000. This year, the President's budget includes a $274 million investment -- a 15 percent increase -- to prevent unintended pregnancy and ensure access to safe, high quality family planning services. This investment will help fund clinics and community-based health services that reach more than 5 million women and families. In 1998 and 1999, the Clinton-Gore Administration successfully defeated parental consent restrictions on contraceptive services for minors.
Provided Contraceptive Coverage to More than a Million Women. The FY 1999 and FY 2000 budgets require the 300 Federal Employees Health Benefits Plans (FEHBP) to cover contraceptive drugs and devices, providing coverage to approximately 1.2 million women of childbearing age.
Protected FDA's Role in Testing RU-486. In 1993, President Clinton reversed the ban on the importation of Mifepristone or RU-486. In 1998 and 1999, the President and Vice President successfully fought for removal of a provision that would prohibit the FDA from testing, developing or approving RU-486, thereby usurping the Agency's role in making scientific determinations about the effect of drugs on the safety and health of the American people.
Signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. President Clinton signed into law the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, establishing a safety-zone around women's health clinics. Throughout the Administration, the President and Vice President have worked hard to protect a woman's right to choose.
Reversed the "Gag Rule." President Clinton reversed the "Gag Rule," which limited the information federally funded family planning clinics could give to women.
Making Our Communities Safer
Lowest Crime Rates in a Generation. The overall crime rate is the lowest in 25 years, and in 1999 crime fell for the eighth consecutive year nationwide. Violent crime rate fell 7 percent in 1999 and 27 percent since 1993. Since 1993, the murder rate is down more than 25 percent to its lowest point since 1967, and gun violence has declined by more than 35 percent. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1998 National Crime Victimization Survey; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports for the United States 1998, 1999; FY 2001 Budget, p. 107]
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 a distressed neighborhood grant program to increase community policing in high-crime and underserved neighborhoods. To help keep crime at record lows, in fall 1999, 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 over $1 billion to continue the successful COPS initiative to hire more officers, hire new community prosecutors, give police the tools and technology they need to fight crime, and to fund community-wide crime fighting efforts. [Justice Department, COPS Program, 5/12/99; National Economic Council, 11/18/99; FY 2001 Budget, p. 109]
More Than Half a Million Felons, Fugitives and Domestic Abusers Denied Guns. Since taking effect in 1994, the Brady Law has helped to prevent a total of more than 536,000 felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns. In November 1998, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) took effect under the Brady Law, allowing access to a fuller set of records that law enforcement officials can use to conduct checks of all prospective gun purchases -- not just for handguns. As of March 2000, NICS has conducted over 10 million background checks on gun purchasers, and stopped an estimated 179,000 illegal gun sales. [Bureau of Justice Statistics, Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 1999, 6/00]
New Tools in the Fight Against Domestic Violence. President Clinton championed and signed into law the Violence Against Women Act, bolstering local law enforcement, prosecution, and victims' services to better address these crimes. The Clinton-Gore Administration more than quadrupled funding to domestic violence shelters and signed the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act, making it a Federal crime to cross state lines intending to injure or harass another person. And the Administration established a nationwide 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline, which provides immediate crisis intervention, counseling and referrals for those in need.
Fighting for Equal Opportunity
Appointed More Women Than Any Other President. Women make up 44 percent of Clinton Administration appointees, and 29 percent of the positions requiring Senate confirmation are held by women. Additionally, 30 percent of the President's judicial nominees are women, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman in history to serve on the Supreme Court.
Appointed the First Women Ever to Serve as Attorney General, Janet Reno; and Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Other women who serve in the Clinton Cabinet include Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor; Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Carol Browner, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Aida Alverez, Administrator of the Small Business Association; Charlene Barshefsky, United States Trade Representative and Janice LaChance, Director of the Office of Personnel Management.
Established White House Office for Women's Initiatives. The Office for Women's Initiatives and Outreach was established in June 1995 to help better serve and listen to the President's constituents. The Office was designed to contribute to the development of Administration policy as it relates to women and families and to advocate for these important issues. The Women's Office serves as a liaison between the White House and organizations that work to advance the interests of women and families and serves as a valuable source for information on the Clinton Administration initiatives, programs and resources throughout the federal government.
Ordered an Assessment of Affirmative Action Programs. The President ordered a comprehensive review of the government's affirmative action programs, which concluded that affirmative action is still an effective and important tool to expand educational and economic opportunity to all Americans. This review of federal affirmative action programs has helped to ensure that these programs are fair and effective and that they can survive legal challenges. As a result, programs that benefit African Americans, including students, working men and women, and business owners, remain in effect and are more likely to be upheld by the courts.
President's Interagency Council on Women. In August 1995, on the eve of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, President Clinton established the President's Interagency Council on Women in order to follow up on the work of the U.N. conference. The Council is charged with coordinating the implementation of the Platform for Action adopted at Beijing, including the U.S. commitments announced there. It also develops related initiatives to further women's progress and engages in outreach and public education to support the successful implementation of the Conference agreements.
Celebrating Women in American History. President Clinton established the President's Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History, which recommended the best ways to celebrate women's role in our history -- including a traveling exhibit to celebrate women in history; a how-to handbook for communities to celebrate women's history; and a national women's history umbrella website. In October 1998, the President signed legislation creating the Women's Progress Commemoration Commission, which will work with the President's Commission to help commemorate, celebrate, and preserve women's history in America. [Executive Order 13090, 7/2/98; White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 10/31/98]