THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 2, 2000
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE BUDGET
The Rose Garden
10:45 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Thank you. Let me begin with a
word about developments in the Middle East. Last night, the parties
announced that they had reached an understanding on how to end the violence
based on the agreement we reached at Sharm el-Sheikh.
I hope the parties can move forward to put an end to this
violence that has caused so much pain on both sides. We know it won't be
easy. This morning we were reminded once again in Jerusalem that there are
those who seek to destroy the peace through acts of terror. This cannot be
permitted to prevail. It is now time for those who believe in peace to
stand together to stop this violence and to work against the terrorists.
I wanted all of you to be here today because you've worked so
hard on our priorities here at home. The Republican leadership of the
106th Congress has proven itself unable to finish its work before facing
the voters. Congressional Republicans are leaving behind a legacy of
unfinished business on health care, education, economic progress, and
Regrettably, this is a Congress that may well be remembered for broken
promises, lost opportunities and misplaced priorities.
In contrast, our administration, with congressional Democrats,
put forward an achievable agenda for America and its families -- a real
patients' bill of rights, expanding health coverage to millions of
uninsured Americans, a raise in the minimum wage, tax cuts for education
and retirement, improving our public schools, protecting our environment,
strengthening Medicare with a voluntary prescription drug coverage for all
seniors, and a balanced budget that pays off the debt by 2012.
We had a simple strategy to accomplish these goals -- heeding the
wisdom of the American people, reaching out to win bipartisan majorities in
Congress, and calling for a vote. That's putting progress over
partisanship. Results should have been a strong record of legislative
achievement. But time and again, rather than listening to the voices of
the American people and responding to the bipartisan calls within the
Congress, the Republican leadership has bowed to the demands of special
On every single issue we have worked in good faith to craft
compromises that were good for the American people. And when Democrats and
Republicans have worked together we have actually made real progress. We
won new investments for our inner cities, rural communities and Native
American communities, and 79,000 new housing vouchers for families climbing
their way out of poverty. We increased our investment in a clean
environment and doubled our funds for land conservation. We enacted the
largest one-year increase ever requested for Veterans Affairs and the
largest increase in the history of the National Science Foundation. And we
met our historic commitment to debt relief for developing countries.
Just last Sunday we reached bipartisan agreement on an education
budget that would have been a tremendous achievement for our children. But
under orders from their special interest, the Republican leadership
cancelled the compromise we had reached with the Republican congressional
negotiators. So unless we keep fighting, there will be no funds for school
construction, no more progress toward cutting class size by hiring 100,000
new qualified teachers, no new investment in teacher quality, no new
funding to strengthen accountability, turn around failing schools, double
the number of children served in after-school programs. That is wrong. So
we must keep working to make it right.
We built a bipartisan coalition to strengthen Medicare and
Medicaid by expanding coverage for children with disabilities, Americans
moving from welfare to work, and pregnant women and children who are legal
immigrants. But the Republican leadership rejected these proposals in
favor of a massive give-away to HMOs -- tens of billions of dollars without
taking adequate care of these vulnerable populations, or adequately
compensating the teaching in rural hospitals, home health agencies, and
other providers who serve our people. Before this year is out, we must
resolve this matter, finally and fairly.
The leadership says they didn't have time to complete the budget.
But they wasted no time in blocking fair treatment for Latino immigrants,
in blocking common-sense gun safety legislation, in trying to stop new
worker safety rules, in filing the spending bills -- filling the spending
bills they did pass with political election year pork.
One thing should be clear: the lack of progress in this Congress
was not a failure of bipartisanship. On raising the minimum wage, a real
patients' bill of rights, hate crimes legislation, campaign finance reform,
school construction, new markets legislation for the areas still not
touched by our prosperity -- on every single one of these issues we had
bipartisan majorities, Republicans and Democrats, ready to pass them. But
the Republican leadership and their special interest allies, unfortunately,
still had the power to kill them.
It is unfortunate that their leadership failed to deliver on so
much that was within our grasp. But the fight is not over. The American
people expect us to finish the job they sent us here to do, and when the
Republican leadership comes back after the election, I hope we are ready to
work together -- and they are ready to work together -- to meet that
challenge. I am ready. We've done a lot of good, but there's too much
left undone; too much that a majority of both parties support.
So thanks for your efforts. Let's go out and let the American
people have their say, and we'll come back and go to work after the
election. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 10:52 A.M. EST