PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Working on Behalf of African Americans
"If every American really believed that we were one nation under God; if
every person really believed that we are all created equal; if every person
really believed that we have an obligation to try to draw closer together
and to be better neighbors with others throughout the world, then all the
rest of our problems would more easily melt away. And so I ask you?keep in
your mind?the enormous potential you have to reach the heart and soul of
America, to remind them that we must be one."
-- President Clinton
Remarks to the Congressional Black Caucus
September 20, 1999
EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES:
Historic Economic Gains. The unemployment rate and poverty rate for
African Americans are both at the lowest levels on record, with an
unemployment rate of 7.0% in September 2000 (down from 14.2% in 1992) and a
poverty rate of 23.6% in 1999 (down from 33.1% in 1993). Median household
income for African Americans is up from $24,3000 in 1993 to $27,910 in
Tax Cuts For Working Families. President Clinton and Vice President Gore's
1993 Economic Plan provided tax cuts to 15 million hard-pressed working
families by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The average
family with two children who received the EITC received a tax cut of
$1,026. In 1997, the EITC lifted 1.1 million African Americans out of
poverty. This year the President and Vice President have proposed
expanding the EITC to provide tax relief to 6.4 million additional working
Minimum Wage Increased. The President raised the minimum wage to $5.15 an
hour -- directly benefiting 1.3 million African American workers.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have called for passage of an
additional $1.00 an hour increase.
Tripled Small Business Loans. Between 1993 and March 2000 the Small
Business Administration (SBA) approved more than 16,100 loans to African
American entrepreneurs under the 7(a), 504, and Microloan programs. In
1999 alone, the SBA granted 2,456 loans, worth $386.3 million, to African
American small business owners -- more than three times the number of loans
granted in 1992.
Created Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities. Spurring economic
development in distressed communities, the Clinton-Gore Administration has
created 31 Empowerment Zones and more than 100 Enterprise Communities,
including 50 rural ECs, which are creating new jobs, new opportunities and
stronger communities. This would have a dramatic effect in the areas with
high unemployment, weak economies, shortages of affordable housing and
other problems. The President won $70 million in funding for Rural and
Urban Empowerment Zones in FY 2000 -- after Congress initially provided no
Encouraging Investment in Underserved Communities with the New Markets
Initiative. President Clinton?s New Markets Initiative will help bring
economic development and renewal to communities that have not benefited
from the soaring economy by spurring more than $22 billion in new
investment in urban and rural areas. The President has taken three New
Markets Tours of underserved communities, which have helped generate more
than $1 billion in private sector investment commitments.
Closing the Digital Divide. Increasing access to technology and bridging
the growing "digital divide" has been a top priority for President Clinton
and Vice President Gore. The Clinton-Gore Administration's FY01 budget
includes a comprehensive initiative to bridge the digital divide, broaden
access to computers and training, and create new opportunity for all
BUILDING ONE AMERICA:
President's One America Initiative. President Clinton has led the nation in
an effort to become One America: a place where we respect others?
differences and embrace the common values that unite us. The President has
been actively involved in public outreach efforts to engage Americans in
this historic effort, and followed up on the work of the Initiative on Race
by appointing Robert B. (Ben) Johnson as Assistant to the President and
Director of the new White House Office on the President?s Initiative for
One America. The office is working to ensure that we have a coordinated
strategy to close the opportunity gaps that exist for minorities and the
underserved in this country, and build the One America we want for all of
our nation?s children.
An Administration that Looks Like America. The President has appointed the
most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history, with twice as many
African American appointees as any previous administration. African
Americans make up 12 percent of the Clinton Cabinet, 14 percent of
Administration appointees, and 17 percent of Federal bench nominations. The
President has appointed more African Americans to federal judgeships (62
total) than were appointed during the last sixteen years combined (57
INVESTING IN EDUCATION:
Increased Funding and Grants for Historically Black Colleges and
Universities. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have increased
funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by over
$250 million between FY92 and FY98 -- an increase of nearly 25 percent.
Today, America?s 105 HBCUs are educating almost 300,000 African American
Record College Enrollment. The percentage of African American high school
graduates enrolling in college increased from 48 percent in 1992 to 59
percent in 1997 -- the highest number ever.
Proposing the Largest Head Start Expansion in History. Since 1993, the
Clinton-Gore Administration has increased funding for Head Start by 90
percent. The President?s FY01 budget increases funding for Head Start by
another $1 billion -- the largest increase ever proposed for the program --
to provide Head Start and Early Head Start to approximately 950,000
children. This funding will bring within reach the President?s goal of
serving one million children in 2002 and builds the foundation for the
long-term goal of universal pre-school. In 1998, 36 percent of the children
enrolled in Head Start were African American.
Turning Around Failing Schools. 11 million low-income students now benefit
from Title I- Aid to Disadvantaged Students, and all our children are
benefiting from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to
higher standards. In the 1996-97 school year, 28 percent of the children
benefiting from the Title I program were African American.
Class Size Reduction Initiative. Last year President Clinton and Vice
President Gore won a second installment of $1.3 billion for the President?s
plan to help school districts hire and train an additional 100,000
well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades. Already,
29,000 teachers have been hired through this initiative. This year, the
FY01 budget includes $1.75 billion for this program, an $450 million
increase ? enough to fund about 49,000 teachers.
Placing Quality Teachers in Underserved Areas. This year, the President
and Vice President proposed a new $1 billion teacher quality plan to
recruit, train and reward good teachers. The Teaching to High Standards
Initiative includes a Hometown Teacher Recruitment program to empower
high-poverty school districts to develop programs to recruit homegrown
teachers to address the shortage of qualified teachers. It also includes
$50 million for Teacher Quality Rewards, which will reward school districts
that have made exceptional progress in reducing the number of uncertified
teachers and teachers teaching outside their subject area.
Preparing Students for College With GEAR UP. The President and Vice
President created and expanded GEAR UP, a mentoring initiative, to help
over 750,000 low-income middle school children finish school and prepare
for college. This year the President has proposed a 62.5 percent increase
to serve 1.4 million students. On September 12, 2000, President Clinton
released 80 new GEAR UP grants totaling $46 million.
New Tax Incentives to Make College More Affordable. President Clinton and
Vice President Gore have proposed the College Opportunity Tax Cut, which
would give families the option of taking a tax deduction or claiming a 28
percent credit for tuition and fees to pay for higher education. When
fully phased in, this proposal would provide up to $2,800 in tax relief
annually to help American families pay for college.
Helping Students Finish College. This year, the President and Vice
President proposed new College Completion Challenge Grants to help reduce
the college drop-out rate, with pre-freshman summer programs, support
services and increased grant aid to students. This $35 million initiative
will improve the chances of success for nearly 18,000 students. Currently,
29 percent of African Americans drop out of college after less than one
year, compared to 18 percent of whites.
Dual Degree Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions. The Clinton-Gore
Administration has proposed a new program to increase opportunities for
students at minority-serving institutions that offer four-year degrees.
Students would receive two degrees within five years: one from a
minority-serving institution, and one from a partner institution in a field
in which minorities are underrepresented.
IMPROVING OUR NATION'S HEALTH:
Extended Health Care to Millions of Children with the Children?s Health
Insurance Program. In the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, President Clinton
won $24 billion to provide health care coverage to up to five million
uninsured children. In October 1999 the President announced new outreach
efforts to enroll millions of eligible, uninsured children. This year, the
budget includes several of Vice President Gore's proposals to accelerate
enrollment of children in CHIP. The President and Vice President are also
proposing a new FamilyCare program, which would give States the option to
cover parents in the same plan as their children. African American children
make up 25 percent of all uninsured children -- more than twice their
percentage of the overall population.
Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities by 2010. President
Clinton's initiative will help eliminate racial disparities in six key
health areas: infant mortality, diabetes, cancer screening and management,
heart disease, AIDS and immunizations. President Clinton and Vice President
Gore won a 200% increase for this initiative in FY00, and this year they
have proposed $35 million in funding to continue the effort.
Addressing HIV/AIDS. Minority communities make up the fastest growing
portion of the HIV/AIDS caseload. Last year, the President won a $210
million investment -- a 45 percent increase -- to improve prevention
efforts in high-risk communities and expand access to new HIV therapies.
This year's budget continues that investment.
MAKING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER:
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
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.
Preventing Hate Crimes. The President signed the Hate Crimes Sentencing
Enhancement Act, which provides for longer sentences for hate crimes, and
hosted the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes. President Clinton
and Vice President Gore have repeatedly called for passage of the Hate
Crimes Prevention Act in order to strengthen hate crimes laws. The
President?s FY 2001 budget includes $20 million to promote police integrity
and for hate crimes training for federal, state, and local law enforcement.
Working to End Racial Profiling. To help determine where and when racial
profiling occurs, the President directed Cabinet agencies to collect data
on the race, ethnicity, and gender of individuals subject to certain stops
by federal law enforcement. The President has also supported increased
resources for police integrity and ethics training and to improve the
diversity of local police forces.
Expanding Civil Rights Enforcement. In FY 2000, President Clinton won a
six percent increase in funding for federal civil rights enforcement
agencies including $82 million for the Civil Rights Division at the Justice
Department, a 19 percent increase. In the FY01 budget, the President and
Vice President have proposed $698 million in funding for civil rights
enforcement agencies, a 13 percent increase, to expand investigations and
prosecutions of criminal civil rights cases (including hate crimes and
police misconduct) and fair housing and lending practices; help the EEOC
reduce the backlog of private-sector cases; and allow HUD to take steps to
reduce housing discrimination.
Working to Pass Common-Sense Gun Laws. President Clinton and Vice
President Gore have repeatedly called on Congress to build on the success
of the Brady Law by quickly passing a set of common sense gun safety
measures designed to keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives. The
Administration has proposed legislation, that passed in the Senate last
year with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Gore, that would require
background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows; require child safety
locks for every handgun sold; bar the importation of large-capacity
ammunition clips; and ban the most violent juvenile offenders from owning
guns for life.
More than Half a Million Felons, Fugitives and Domestic Abusers Denied
Guns. Since the President signed the Brady Bill into law, more than
536,000 felons, fugitives and domestic abusers have been prevented from
purchasing guns through Brady background checks. This year, the President
and Vice President have proposed a State-based licensing system for handgun
purchases. Under the proposal, every purchaser of a handgun must first
have a valid state-issued photo license, showing that the buyer has passed
a Brady background check and a gun safety training requirement.
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