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The Clinton/Gore Record of Strengthening Families and Communities

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The Briefing Room

November 4, 1999

Since 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been committed to empowering and supporting working families and to tapping the potential of Americaís urban and rural communities. They have a demonstrated record of creating new initiatives and expanding existing initiatives to support children and families and to promote community and economic development. The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked with the private sector, states, and localities to help revitalize Americaís communities by bringing capital, jobs, and opportunity to distressed areas and cleaning up the urban environment. At the same time, this Administration has worked with our state and local partners, the business community, and community-based organizations to support working families — moving them toward self-sufficiency and out of poverty. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have created or expanded the following initiatives over the last six years.


Expanded EITC to Put Money Back in Working Familiesí Pockets

  • The EITC helps working families supplement their earnings through tax credits. In President Clintonís 1993 Economic Plan, EITC was expanded to make work pay for 15 million working families.
  • In 1998, the EITC lifted 4.3 million Americans out of poverty — more than twice as many as in 1993. The average family received an EITC credit of $1,890.

Minimum Wage Hike Increased Pay By $1,800 for Full-time Workers

  • In 1996, the President and Vice President fought for and won a minimum wage increase from $4.25 to $5.15 per hour for nearly 10 million workers.
  • Now, the President is fighting for another minimum wage increase — $1 over two years — to make work pay for 11.4 million workers and help ensure that parents who work hard and play by the rules can raise their children out of poverty.

Provided Health Care to Low-Income Working Families

  • The President has successfully fought to increase low-income familiesí access to health care by allowing states to expand Medicaid to cover low-income two-parent families who work and working with states to ensure that uninsured families receive Medicaid when eligible.

Enacted Single Largest Investment in Health Care for Children since 1965

  • The President, with bipartisan support from the Congress, created the Childrenís Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 allocated $24 billion over five years to provide affordable health insurance to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to purchase private insurance through State-designed programs.
  • On September 8, 1999, President Clinton announced that all 50 states and every territory are participating in this new program, bringing us closer to our goal of providing insurance for up to 5 million children through a combination of Medicaid and CHIP.

Improved Access to Affordable and Quality Child Care

  • Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, federal funding for child care has increased by 80 percent, helping parents pay for the care of about 1.25 million children.
  • The 1996 welfare reform law increased child care funding by $4 billion over six years to provide child care assistance to families moving from welfare to work. Last year, the President succeeded in securing $140 million in new funds for after-school care and $173 million for child care quality activities.

Initiated $3 Billion Welfare-to-Work Initiative

  • The Clinton-Gore Administration fought for a $3 billion Welfare-to-Work initiative as part of the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement. During FY 1998 and FY 1999, nearly $2.7 billion in grants have been awarded to states, local communities, and tribes across the nation to help long-term welfare recipients, and certain low-income fathers, work and support their families.
  • Funds are targeted at individuals and communities facing the greatest challenges. To date, these resources are helping nearly 100,000 individuals to get or keep a job.

Helping People Get to Work

  • With the Administrationís leadership, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) authorized $750 million over five years for the Presidentís Job Access initiative and reverse commute grants.
  • The Omnibus Budget Act included $75 million for this program in FY 1999, and in May, Vice President Gore awarded grants to 179 communities in 42 states around the country to assist states and localities to develop flexible transportation alternatives for welfare recipients and other low-income workers. The program is funded at $75 million for FY 2000.

Welfare-to-Work Housing Vouchers

  • In 1999, the President proposed and Congress approved $283 million for 50,000 new welfare to work housing vouchers for current and former welfare recipients who need housing assistance to get or keep a job.
  • Families will use these welfare-to-work housing vouchers to move closer to a new job, to reduce a long commute, or to secure more stable housing that will help eliminate emergencies which keep them from getting to work every day on time. The FY 2000 budget funds 60,000 new housing vouchers.

Helping People Who Want to Work but Canít Find a Job

  • Acknowledging that finding a job often takes time, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 provided funds for work slots and food stamp benefits to help those who are willing to work, but through no fault of their own, have not yet found employment.

Passage of Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit and Work Opportunity Tax Credit

  • The Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit, enacted in the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement, provides a credit equal to 35 percent of the first $10,000 in wages in the first year of employment, and 50 percent of the first $10,000 in wages in the second year, to encourage the hiring and retention of long-term welfare recipients.
  • This credit complements the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which expands eligible businesses to include those who hire young adults living in Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities. In FY 1999, the President requested and Congress accepted extending the credit through June 30, 1999.

Introduced $500 Per-Child Tax Credit, Benefiting 13 Million Children from Low-income Families

  • 27 million families with 45 million children are receiving the $500 per-child tax credit included in the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement.
  • As a result of the Presidentís efforts, 13 million children from families receiving the EITC will also benefit from the $500 child tax credit.

Increased WIC by $1 Billion

  • Under President Clinton, participation in WIC has expanded by 1.7 million — from 5.7 million in 1993 to 7.4 million women, infants, and children in 1999. Funding has risen from $2.9 billion to $3.9 billion.

Helping Working Families to Buy Food

  • In July 1999, the President took executive actions to help ensure working families who need Food Stamps have access. These steps include:
    • new policy making it easier for working families to own a car and still receive food stamps
    • new regulations simplifying rules so that families do not have to report income as often and states wonít be penalized for small errors in projecting familiesí future earnings
    • a new public education campaign to educate working families about food stamps

Established of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

  • In 1992, the President proposed to establish IDAs to empower low-income families to save for a first home, post-secondary education, or to start a new business. The 1996 welfare reform law authorized the use of welfare block grants to create IDAs.
  • In 1998, the President signed legislation creating a five-year $125 million IDA demonstration program. In FY 1999, $10 million was awarded to establish savings accounts for over 10,000 low-income workers in 40 communities, and the President proposed to double the commitment to $20 million in FY 2000.


Expanded Head Start By Nearly 70 Percent

  • Since 1993, President Clinton and Congressional Democrats have expanded Head Start by 57 percent, from nearly $2.8 billion in FY 1993 to nearly $4.7 billion in FY 1999.
  • The program now serves an estimated 835,000 children, reaching more kids than at any time since its creation in 1965 and more than 200,000 additional children than in 1992.

Launched the Reading Excellence Program

  • Two years ago, President Clinton launched the America Reads Challenge, a multi-faceted effort to help states and communities ensure that all children can read well and independently by the end of the third grade.
  • The program received $260 million in FY 1999 and another $286 million has been requested in FY 2000 to allow the program to continue. The funds help to train reading tutors and coordinate after-school, weekend and summer reading programs linked to in-school instruction. In addition, over 1,000 colleges have pledged to use federally-financed work-study positions for tutoring programs.

Helping Students Most in Need

  • Title I funds provide over $8 billion to help 11 million low-income students benefit from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to higher standards.

Strong Investments in Educational Technology

  • The Clinton-Gore Administration has made strong investments in educational technology. Funding for education technology at the Department of Education has increased from $23 million (FY 1993) to $698 million (FY 1999) to $801 million (FY 2000 request).
  • States and local communities are given a great deal of flexibility in how they use the money for computers, teacher training and software -- but they are required to develop a plan for ensuring equity.
  • The "E-rate" provides $2.25 billion in discounts to connect schools and libraries to the Internet. Discounts are 90 percent for the poorest schools that need it most, and 20 percent for the wealthiest schools. E-rate was a critical part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which the President signed into law.

Providing Safe After-School Opportunities

  • Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program has been expanded to provide safe and academically enriching after-school opportunities for nearly 400,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities each year.
  • In his FY 2000 budget, the President proposes to triple funding to $600 million, reaching 1.1 million students.

Creation of Youth Opportunity Grants

  • President Clinton proposed the $1.25 billion Youth Opportunities Grants program, a five year grants initiative that was authorized as part of the 1998 Workforce Investment Act. This program focuses primarily on out-of-school youths. The program provides them with job training and has a strong emphasis on mainstreaming youth into the private sector, both in terms of immediate job placement and work-based learning opportunities to increase long-term employment prospects.
  • The Youth Opportunities program will receive $250 million this fall and will make a significant attack on concentrated poverty and unemployment. This initiative represents a strong investment in Empowerment Zones and Communities and other urban and rural areas that are considered high-poverty areas.
  • The main goal of the program is to increase employment in the private sector, increase college enrollment and decrease dropout rates.

Creation of the GEAR-UP Initiative

  • Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the new mentoring initiative GEAR-UP was created to better prepare up to an estimated 260,000 low-income middle school children for entrance to and success in higher education.
  • GEAR UP grants will fund partnerships involving more than 1,000 organizations, such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H programs, Salvation Army, libraries, arts organizations, local chambers of commerce, and individual companies such as Wal-Mart, Unisys, Hewlett-Packard, Bell Atlantic, and the New York Times Newspaper in Education Program.
  • In August 1999, $120 million in grants were awarded to 164 partnerships and 21 grants to states (for statewide program).

Assisting Migrant Children and Families

  • Migrant families face difficult obstacles to gaining the education and training they may need to improve their standard of living. President Clinton improved the Migrant Education Program in the 1994 reauthorization, and won a 16 percent increase in FY 1999.

Expanding Pell Grants

  • President Clinton and the Congressional Democrats have increased the Pell Grant maximum grant amount from $2,300 in FY 1993 to $3,215 in 1999. In 1999, nearly 4 million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,125, the largest maximum award ever.


Expanding Microenterprise Lending and Technical Assistance

  • Microenterprise development programs provide access to capital, other financial services, and training to those traditionally bypassed by the mainstream financial sector, such as the poor women, minorities and those in economically distressed areas.
  • President Clintonís and Vice President Goreís proposal also includes a doubling of support for technical assistance in SBAís Microloan Program and a doubling of support for SBA lending to leverage over $75 million in new microlending.
  • The microenterprise strategy will also involve new funding for Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and for SBAís One-Stop Capital Shops.

Cleaning Up the Urban Environment through Brownfields Redevelopment

  • The Clinton-Gore Administration has launched a landmark effort, including the Brownfields Tax Incentive, to clean up and redevelop Brownfields sites. In total, the Brownfields action agenda has marshaled funds to clean up and redevelop up to 5,000 properties.

Created the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund

  • In 1994, President Clinton proposed and signed into law the CDFI Fund. Through grants, loans, and equity investments, the Fund has created a network of approximately 270 CDFIs in distressed areas across the nation. CDFI activities leverage investments from banks, foundations, and other sources.
  • Since the Fundís creation, it has made more than $190 million in awards to community development institutions and financial institutions. This investment is expected to leverage three to four times the amount of the investments in total capital raised for CDFIs over the next few years. In FY 1999, funding for the CDFI Fund was increased 19 percent to $95 million.

Strengthened and Simplified the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

  • President Clinton made clear that he was prepared to veto long overdue legislation to modernize the financial landscape, if it allowed a bank with an unsatisfactory CRA rating to take advantage of the new powers under the bill. As a result, the conferees on the financial modernization bill provided that, for the first time, a bankís CRA rating is relevant to its merger or expansion in non-banking activities. In addition, President Clinton fought to eliminate provisions that would have excluded some banks from CRA coverage and limited the effectiveness of the merger application review process. President Clinton thus assured that CRA remains vital and relevant in the new financial landscape.
  • In April 1995, the Clinton-Gore Administration reformed the CRA regulations to emphasize performance. According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), the private sector has pledged more than $1 trillion going forward in loans to distressed communities Ė and more than 95 percent of these financial commitments have been made since 1992.
  • Banks made $18.6 billion in community development loans in 1997 alone. Lending to minority and low-income borrowers is also on the rise.

The Economic Development Initiative (EDI) and Section 108 Loan Guarantee

  • EDI grants are used to infuse capital into community development projects, enhancing the debt financing provided by the Section 108 loan guarantee program. Together, the programs support critical economic development in distressed communities. Estimated jobs supported by EDI and the Section 108 loan guarantee have grown by 300,000 from 1994 to 1998. During this time period EDI and the Section 108 loan guarantee program have funded $3.5 billion for more than 650 separate project commitments.
  • In FY 2000 many projects will be eligible to participate in the Community Empowerment Fund Trust, a pilot program, which will enable the pooling of loans and the creation of a private sector secondary market for economic development loans. The CEF specifically targets Welfare-to-Work and City-Suburb Business Connections, building upon the success of HUDís EDI and Section 108 loan guarantee program.

135 Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities

  • After pushing to have Empowerment Zones (EZs) and Enterprise Communities (ECs) passed into law, the Clinton-Gore Administration has designated 135 urban and rural EZs and ECs across the country. The First Round EZ/EC initiative, which included 105 EZs/ECs, was proposed by President Clinton and passed by Congress in 1993. The Second Round of 30 EZs/ECs was also proposed by the President, and in FY 1999 the President and Congress provided first-year funding for the new EZs and ECs.
  • Designated communities were chosen on the basis of their strategic revitalization plans, and receive special incentives and resources to help carry out their plans. The EZ/EC initiative has already leveraged over $10 billion in additional public and private sector investment in community revitalization efforts.
  • Rural/Urban Empowerment Zones will receive $70 billion in FY2000. All of the urban and rural EZs (20 zones) and rural enterprise communities (20 ECs) that were designated by the Vice President in January 1999 as Round II zones will receive funding.

Providing Community Resources

  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds activities such as economic and neighborhood revitalization, job creation, public services, community development and renewal of distressed communities.
  • In 1999, CDBG funds assisted nearly 200,000 households in up to 900 communities around the country that are eligible for CDBG funding.
  • President Clintonís FY 2000 Budget included an expansion of CDBG. The final budget increases funding for CDBG from $4.750 billion in FY 1999 to 4.775 billion in FY 2000, a $25 million expansion this year.

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