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December 2, 1998

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Thirty days ago, the American people gave all of us in Washington our marching orders: They want us to get to work on their behalf -- and on their business. We have heard them loud and clear. And we look forward to working with colleagues across party lines to create a new season of achievement for the American people.

President Bill Clinton
December 2, 1998

Today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore meet with the Senate Democratic leadership to discuss next year's legislative agenda for the incoming Congress.

President Clinton Is Working To Ensure Basic Patient Protections. When the next Congress meets in January, one of its most important priorities should be passage of a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. The Patients' Bill of Rights is one of the President's top domestic priorities, he has called on Congress for over a year to pass legislation that includes the following provisions:

  • Guaranteed Access To Needed Health Care Specialists;
  • Access To Emergency Room Services When And Where The Need Arises;
  • Continuity Of Care Protections To Assure Patient Care will not change abruptly if their provider is dropped;
  • Access To A Timely Internal And Independent External Appeals Process for consumers to resolve their differences with their health plans;
  • A Limit On Financial Incentives To Doctors;
  • Assuring That Doctors And Patients Can Openly Discuss Treatment Options;
  • Assuring that Women Have Direct Access To An OB-GYN;
  • An Enforcement Mechanism That Ensures Recourse For Patients who have been maimed or die as a result of health plan actions.

The President Has Secured Important Funding For Our Children's Education, But Work Remains. During the budget negotiations, President Clinton fought for and won key agreements from Congress to help ensure our country continues to prosper as we move into the 21st Century. The President won key agreements, including:

  • More High-Quality Teachers With Smaller Classes. The President won a down-payment on his pledge to hire 100,000 new teachers to help reduce class size in grades 1-3 to a national average of 18;
  • Encouraging States To Open More Charter Schools. The President signed legislation to keep us on track to 3,000 charter schools by the turn of the century;
  • Expanding Educational Technology. This year's budget includes a 20 percent increase for educational technology to ensure that every child has access to computers, the Internet, high-quality educational software, and teachers that can use technology effectively in the classroom;

Although the President was able to secure funding for these important programs, the next Congress should support the President's call to build or modernize 5,000 schools nationwide through targeted, fully paid for tax credits.

The Next Congress Should Put Progress Ahead Of Partisanship. President Clinton has a strong agenda to help move our country into the 21st Century. The last Congress failed to act on a number of issues that the President is committed to. The President is calling on the next Congress to work with him and:

  • Save Social Security First. President Clinton believes that our hard won budget surplus should be reserved until Social Security is reformed for the 21st Century. Next week, the President will hold a two-day White House Conference on Social Security to begin discussions on a bipartisan basis on how best to reform Social Security and ensure its solvency into the 21st Century.
  • Make Child Care More Affordable for working families;
  • Increase The Minimum Wage so hard working Americans are given a raise they deserve;
  • Crack Down On Teen Smoking;
  • Pass Campaign Finance Reform.

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