STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
OF PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON
January 27, 2000
Background on Programs and Themes
Announced in the Address
AND NEARING THE LONGEST ECONOMIC EXPANSION IN U.S. HISTORY
Maintaining Fiscal Discipline
When President Clinton was elected seven years ago, America was burdened with a $290 billion deficit, and our national debt had quadrupled over the previous 12 years. Interest rates were high and growth was low. The President and the Vice President set a new path of fiscal responsibility, opening markets, and investing in our people and new technologies. We passed strong deficit reduction packages in both 1993 and in 1997, and made tough choices in each and every budget. This has put the nation on a course of fiscal discipline, while continuing to invest in our people and our future.
Now we see the results of the last seven years: the first back-to-back budget surpluses in 42 years; last year's surplus of $124 billion was the largest in our history. The latest numbers from the Treasury indicate the surplus for this year will be even larger. In just the last two years, we've already paid down $140 billion of the national debt. Because weve resisted efforts to push our nation off the path of fiscal discipline with large and irresponsible tax cuts, our debt is $1.7 trillion less this year than it was projected to be back in 1993.
Last year, the President asked the Congress to use every single dollar of our Social Security surplus to pay down the debt, and to use the interest savings from that debt reduction to lengthen the life of Social Security. This year the President has announced that because of the choices we have made, the budget he will submit for 2001 accelerates the date that we will be able to pay off our debt to 2013 -- two years earlier than we had originally planned. The President will do this by protecting Social Security funds, and dedicating the interest savings to Social Security, allowing us, in addition to paying off the debt, to extend the solvency of the Social Security trust fund to at least 2050. We will also be able to make Medicare secure now, through 2025. And we will be debt-free for the first time since 1835, when our nation just had 24 states and fewer than 15 million people.
Paying Down the Debt by 2013
In the State of the Union address, President Clinton will announce that his budget for 2001 would put America in a position to pay off the $3.6 trillion debt by 2013 2 years earlier than planned. The President will emphasize that this debt reduction would be accomplished by protecting Social Security funds and dedicating the interest savings to Social Security, allowing the Social Security solvency to be extended until at least 2050. In contrast, the Republican lockbox plans in Congress fail to extend the life of Social Security by even one day. The President also will announce that his budget will make Medicare secure through at least 2025 by devoting a substantial fraction of the surplus to Medicare solvency and debt reduction. The President's plan to pay down the debt will result in lower interest rates and stronger investment. For typical families it will mean lower mortgage payments and car payments. By strengthening the economy and eliminating the debt, the President's plan will help prepare the government -- and the Nation -- to meet the challenge of the retiring baby boomers.
Protecting and Strengthening Social Security
As he did in his 1998 and 1999 State of the Union addresses, the President will call on Congress to enact his plan to save Social Security first and strengthen it. For almost 65 years, Social Security has been an unshakable covenant among generations, between workers and retirees, between the disabled and the able bodied. For many Americans, Social Security, along with savings and pensions, is the foundation of retirement security. In his 1999 State of the Union Address, the President proposed a plan that would, building on our historic period of prosperity and budget surpluses, use debt reduction to extend the life of Social Security without damaging and unnecessary benefit cuts or tax increases. In the last session of Congress, the President proposed specific legislation that reserves the entire Social Security surplus for Social Security and debt reduction and, in addition, devotes the interest savings from paying down the national debt to extending the life of Social Security from 2034 to 2050. If the interest savings were prudently invested in equities, solvency would be extended to 2054.
Nearing the Longest Economic Expansion in U.S. History
The Presidents leadership on fiscal discipline and economic strategy has helped the put the economy on track for the longest expansion in American history. The strong economy has benefited Americans in the form of more jobs, higher wages, lower inflation, greater homeownership, and an increasing sense of optimism about the future:
OPPORTUNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY IN EDUCATION
Proposing the Largest Head Start Expansion in History
The Presidents budget increases funding for Head Start by $1 billion the largest funding 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 Presidents goal of serving one million children in 2002 and builds the foundation for the long-term goal of universal pre-school. Head Start prepares low-income children for a lifetime of learning and development by providing early, rigorous and comprehensive child development. Early Head Start, created by the Clinton-Gore Administration in 1994, brings these services to families with children ages zero to three and to pregnant women. The Presidents FY 2001 proposal would increase funding for Early Head Start by $143 million. Since 1993, this Administration has already increased funding for Head Start by 90 percent.
Promoting Early Learning
The Presidents budget includes $3 billion over five years for the Early Learning Fund to help improve child care quality and early childhood education for children under five years old. The Early Learning Fund will provide community grants for activities that foster cognitive development, improve child care quality and promote readiness for school. Resources could be used to help child care providers get training or certification, facilitate licensing or accreditation of child care centers, and reduce child-to-staff ratios.
Fixing Failing Schools and Rewarding Success
Universal After-School for Students in the Most Need - The President and Vice President propose to invest $1 billion in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to help ensure that every child in every failing school can have a safe place to learn during the after school and summertime hours. This more than doubles the FY 2000 investment. The Administrations budget will maintain the commitment to serving all children, but will dedicate the increase to help those children most in need of academic assistance as part of a comprehensive approach to help low-achieving students meet high academic standards. The budget provides sufficient funding to make after school or summer school programs universally available to all students attending Title I school identified as low-performing, nearly tripling the number of children served by the program to 2.5 million.
Accountability Fund In November, the Congress appropriated $134 million for the Presidents accountability fund. This year, the President will increase funding for this initiative to $250 million to turn around failing schools. This funding is used by states and localities to turn around low-performing schools by overhauling curriculum, improving staffing, or even closing the school and reopening it as a charter school. The accountability initiative also includes provisions expanding public school choice for students in failing schools.
Rewarding High Performance and Closing the Achievement Gap - The President also proposes a $50 million initiative to provide high-performance bonuses to states that make exemplary progress in improving student performance and closing the achievement gap between high and low performing groups of students. States would be eligible for bonuses based on substantial overall improvements in student performance and significant narrowing of the achievement gap as indicated by performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Class Size Reduction
The Presidents class size reduction initiative continues his commitment to reduce class size in the early grades by staying on a path to hiring 100,000 high quality teachers. The Administrations FY2001 budget will funding for this initiative to $1.75 billion, an increase of $450 million over current levels enough to fund about 49,000 teachers, nearly half way to our long-term goal. Smaller classes allow teachers to spend more time on instruction and less time on discipline, and provide more individualized attention. Research shows that students attending small classes in the early grades make more rapid educational progress than students in larger classes. New teachers hired under this program must be qualified and know the subjects they are teaching.
Small, Safe and Successful High Schools
Research shows that smaller schools can boost academic achievement and extracurricular involvement and lead to fewer discipline problems. The Presidents budget will include $120 million for a Small Schools Initiative to reinvent high schools on a smaller scale and make them more responsive to student needs. School districts could use this money to create small schools or break up existing large schools into smaller learning communities. Districts would be expected to demonstrate increases in student achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students pursuing postsecondary options, and decreases in classroom disruptions and violence.
Teaching to High Standards
This initiative is a new $1 billion teacher quality plan to recruit, train and reward good teachers. The Teaching to High Standards Initiative will give grants to states and districts to fund high-quality, standards-based professional development for teachers. It also includes several new proposals:
Higher Standards-Higher Pay for Teachers This $50 million initiative will award grants to high-poverty school districts to help them attract and retain high-quality teachers through better pay and higher standards. Participating teachers would receive immediate pay increases and additional raises for exceptional work.
The Presidents budget will increase funding for charter schools by $30 million dollars from $145 million to $175 million. Charter schools are public schools started by parents, teachers, or community groups that are open to all and given a great deal of flexibility in exchange for agreeing to meet defined goals for student performance. Charter schools are one way to increase competition, provide options and choices for parents, and increase accountability in public education. When the President was first elected in 1992, there was only one charter school in the country. Now, according to the Department of Education, there are approximately 1,700 and 36 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing the creation of charter schools. This proposed new funding will ensure that we can meet the Presidents goal of creating 3,000 public charter schools.
School Construction and Modernization
At least 2,400 new public schools will be needed nationwide by 2003 to accommodate rising enrollments and to relieve overcrowding. Thousands more will be needed in following years. To address this critical need, President Clinton is renewing his commitment to his School Modernization Bond proposal. It provides $24.8 billion in tax credit bonds over two years to modernize up to 6,000 schools. This proposal has an estimated cost of $8 billion over ten years. Within this $24.8 billion program, $2.4 billion is reserved for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. In addition, the 2001 budget includes a new $1.3 billion school urgent/emergency renovation loan and grant proposal. This $1.3 billion program could support nearly $7 billion of renovation projects in high-need school districts with little or no capacity to fund urgent repairs. Both loans and grants would be made available, with the smaller grant program directed toward the neediest districts.
Preventing Youth Violence
Over the past year, the country has been traumatized by a spate of school shootings. The President has taken leadership to address the issue of preventing youth violence by establishing a National Campaign Against Youth Violence. The National Campaign is beginning a public engagement campaign on how best to prevent youth violence and is working with the best minds in the field of youth violence to identify and replicate best practices of prevention in local communities. The Presidents budget includes over $8.8 billion, $875 million above FY 2000, for programs throughout the government that work to target youth violence and programs that support the healthy development of young people including developing smaller high schools; promoting safe after-school opportunities; cracking down on illegal gun traffickers who supply guns to youth; and, helping communities develop and implement community-wide responses to school and youth violence through the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative. The Safe Schools program joins principals, parents, police and others in the community to collaborate on comprehensive strategies to address violence problems confronting children in and out of school. The Presidents new budget will provide a $100 million increase for his safe schools initiative, investing a total of nearly $250 million in this signature program.
College Opportunity Tax Cut
Since 1993, the President has taken numerous steps to make college more affordable and accessible, including direct student loans, Pell Grant increases, as well as the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits, producing the biggest expansion in college opportunity since the GI Bill. This year the President goes one step further and calls on Congress to pass his College Opportunity Tax Cut to expand on previous educational tax cuts and make college, graduate school, and job training more affordable for millions of families. The Presidents proposal would give families the option of taking a tax deduction or a 28 percent tax credit on tuition and fees to pay for college and other higher education. The proposal would cover up to $5,000 of educational expenses in 2001 and 2002 and rise to $10,000 of educational expenses from 2003 forward. When fully phased in, this proposal would provide up to $2,800 in tax relief annually to help American families pay for college, graduate work, or courses taken to improve job skills.
Nearly $1 Billion In Increases To Pell Grants, SEOG, Work Study, And Other Programs:
Pell Grants. The Pell Grant program provides grants to economically disadvantaged young people to help pay the cost of a postsecondary education. The maximum Pell Grant in FY2000 is $3,300. The Presidents FY2001 budget increases the maximum to $3,500, more than 50 percent larger than the maximum grant in 1993, to make a college education more affordable for the nearly 4 million Pell Grant recipients. Funding for the Pell Grant program is increased by over $716 million, bringing the total Pell Grant appropriation to $8.356 billion.
SEOG. SEOG, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, provides campus-based grant assistance to needy undergraduate students. Generally, this program supplements the aid students receive from other sources, and leverages institutional aid by at least one dollar for every three federal dollars. The FY2001 budget provides $691 million for SEOG, a $60 million increase, the largest increase in 10 years. An estimated 1.2 million students (over 60,000 more than in 2000) will receive awards in 2001.
Work Study. Work Study provides students the opportunity to work their way through college. The FY 2000 budget achieved the goal of giving one million students the opportunity to participate in Work Study. The FY2001 budget includes $1.011 billion for Work Study, an increase of $77 million to continue this commitment to serve one million students.
Dual Degree Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions. The FY 2001 budget proposes 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. This new $40 million program will serve an estimated 3,000 students.
Over $400 Million In Increases To Keep Young People On The Track To Success:
GEAR UP. GEAR UP is a nationwide initiative to encourage more disadvantaged young people to have high expectations, stay in school, study hard, and take the right courses to go to and succeed in college. GEAR UP is funded at $200 million in FY 2000, enough to provide services to over 750,000 students. The FY 2001 budget provides a 62.5% increase to $325 million, enough to provide services to 1.4 million students.
TRIO. The TRIO programs seek to motivate and prepare students to go to and stay in college. The FY 2001 budget provides $725 million for TRIO, an increase of $80 million to help provide assistance to over 760,000 students, 37,000 more than in 2000.
Job Corps. Job Corps is the nations largest and most comprehensive residential education and job training program targeted at impoverished young people. The FY2001 budget increases Job Corps funding by $33 million, bringing the total Job Corps budget to $1.392 billion.
REWARDING WORK AND STRENGTHENING FAMILIES
Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
President Clinton will call on Congress to pass his $21 billion plan to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit a key part of his opportunity, responsibility, and community agenda to reward work and family. According to estimates by the Department of the Treasury, the Presidents proposed EITC expansion would deliver tax relief for 6.8 million families, providing up to $1,200 in additional tax relief for some of these hard-pressed, working families. The Presidents proposal would build on the EITC expansion that he signed into law in 1993 and which provided a tax cut for 15 million families. That expansion made the EITC even more effective at encouraging work and reducing poverty: In 1998, 4.3 million people were directly lifted out of poverty by the EITC more than double the number in 1993. The Presidents proposal would further increase the reward to work and family by: (1) increasing benefits for families with three children; (2) expanding the credit for married, two-earner couples; (3) rewarding families that are working hard to move into the middle class by lowering the phaseout rate; and (4) encouraging savings through simplification. To illustrate the effects of the Presidents proposed expansion: under current law, a married couple earning $23,000 and with three kids qualify for a $1,892 EITC; the Presidents proposed expansion would boost that amount to $2,867 an increase of $975.
Minimum Wage Increase
The President will call on Congress to pass a $1 increase in the minimum wage. Despite the strongest economy in a generation, there are still millions of workers trying to raise a family and make ends meet. The President believes that parents who work hard and play by the rules should not have to raise their children in poverty. That is why, in 1993, he expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and, in 1996, fought for and won a minimum wage increase. A working parent with two children earning the minimum wage in 1993 made $10,559 with the EITC (in 1998 inflation-adjusted dollars) well below the poverty line. As a result of the expanded EITC and higher minimum wage, a similarly situated family in 1998 was above the poverty line making $13,268 a 26 percent inflation-adjusted increase in their standard of living. The Presidents challenge to build on the success of these policies by raising the minimum wage by $1 would help 11.4 million Americans 70 percent of whom are adults and 59 percent of whom are women. For a full-time, year-round worker at the minimum wage, the Presidents proposal would mean an additional $2,000 per year, enough to buy 7 months of groceries or pay 5 months of rent.
Ensuring Equal Pay
According to the Department of Labor, the average woman who works full-time earns approximately 75 cents for each dollar that an average man earns. For women of the color, the gap is even wider. This gap is attributable, in part, to differing levels of experience, education, and skill. However, even after accounting for these factors, a significant pay gap still remains between men and women in similar jobs. The President will announce a $27 million Equal Pay Initiative in his Fiscal Year 2001 budget, an increase of $12 million over Fiscal Year 2000. The Initiative requests $10 million for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to provide training and technical assistance to about 3,000 employers on how to comply with equal pay requirements and to launch a public service announcement campaign on wage issues. The Initiative also dedicates $10 million for the Department of Labor (DOL) to train women in nontraditional jobs, including high-tech jobs and other skill shortage occupations. Lastly, the Initiative provides $7 million for DOL to help employers assess and improve their pay policies, support public education efforts, provide for projects in non-traditional apprenticeships, and implement industry partnerships. The President also will call on Congress again to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen wage discrimination laws, provide for new collection of data on wage issues, and provide for additional research, training, and public education efforts on this important subject.
New Housing Vouchers for Hard-Pressed Working Families
The Presidents budget will include $690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers to help Americas hard-pressed working families. These housing vouchers subsidize the rents of low-income Americans, enabling them to move closer to job opportunities many of which are being created far from where these families live. Of the 120,000 new housing vouchers, 32,000 will be targeted to families moving from welfare to work, 18,000 to homeless individuals and families, and 10,000 to low-income families moving to new housing constructed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, with the remaining 60,000 vouchers allocated to local areas to help address the large unmet need for affordable housing. These new vouchers build on the 110,000 new housing vouchers secured through the Presidents leadership over the past two years.
Homeless persons do not participate fully in important health and other programs for which they are eligible. The Presidents budget proposes legislation for a new $10 million initiative that would improve homeless individuals access to mainstream programs that will help them move toward self-sufficiency. Demonstration grants would be awarded to several states to improve access to and provide coordination among mainstream programs such as Medicaid, State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food Stamps, the Workforce Investment Act, and the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block Grants. The budget also proposes $1.2 billion for homeless assistance programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including $105 million for 18,000 homeless vouchers.
Millions Move from Welfare to Work
In 1992, President Clinton promised to end welfare as we know it, and now more than three years after the enactment of the welfare reform law, weve seen revolutionary changes to promote work and responsibility: the number of Americans on welfare is at its lowest level since 1969 -- 30 years ago -- as millions of people move from welfare to work. Since January 1993, the welfare rolls have fallen by more than half, from 14.1 million to 6.9 million. More than 1.3 million welfare recipients went to work in 1998 alone. The 12,000 business participating in the Welfare to Work Partnership launched by the President in 1997 have hired nearly 650,000 former welfare recipients. The federal government is also doing its share: in 1997, the President asked the Vice President to lead the federal hiring initiative to hire 10,000 welfare recipients over four years. Today, weve far exceeded that goal, hiring more than 16,000 people. At a time when the federal workforce is the smallest it has been in thirty years, the Vice President has shown that you can both create a leaner government and one that leads by example.
New Initiatives to Collect More Child Support
Since the President took office, child support collections have nearly doubled. Today, parents who owe child support have their wages garnished, their bank accounts seized, and their tax refunds withheld. To build on this success, the budget contains several new initiatives to further increase child support collections and crack down on parents who owe child support. Parents who owe past-due child support will have their gambling winnings intercepted and their vehicles booted. They will have a harder time obtaining or renewing a passport, and they can be prohibited from enrolling as a Medicare provider. Finally, the budget will require that child support orders be updated more frequently and increase the amount of child support paid directly to families.
New Fathers Work/Families Win Grants
The Presidents budget will contain $255 million in new competitive grants in FY 2001 to promote responsible fatherhood and support working families, critical next steps in reforming welfare and reducing child poverty. The Clinton-Gore Administrations budget will encourage responsible fatherhood through $125 million in "Fathers Work" grants to put approximately 40,000 non-custodial parents (mainly fathers) who owe child support to work and help them connect with their children. As part of this effort, states will need to put in place procedures allowing them to require more parents who owe child support to pay or go to work. The Presidents budget will also contain $130 million in "Families Win" grants to help about 40,000 low-income parents stay in their jobs, move up the career ladder, and remain off cash assistance. An important part of these grants will be to improve families access to food stamps, health care, child care, and other critical support for working families. $10 million will be set aside for Indian and Native American grantees. Fathers Work/Families Win competitive grants will be run by one-stop career centers, community groups, and faith-based organizations under contract to local and state workforce investment boards.
Helping More Long-Term Recipients Move from Welfare to Work
Because of the Presidents leadership, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act contained $3 billion for Welfare-to-Work grants to help long-term welfare recipients and certain non-custodial parents go to work and support their children. To fully implement these important efforts, the Presidents budget allows grantees an additional two years to spend these existing funds.
Second Chance Homes
The budget includes $25 million in new funds to support "second chance homes," adult-supervised and supportive living arrangements, for unmarried teen parents and their children who cannot live at home or with other relatives. States will be able to use these funds, as they can other Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) funds, to support services provided by faith-based and community-based organizations. (Overall, the budget increases SSBG funds by $75 million.) This new initiative will be latest of the Administrations efforts to reduce teen pregnancy, which have resulted in the lowest teen pregnancy rates on record and an 18 percent decline in teen births from 1991 to 1998.
Helping Low-Income Families Afford Child Care
The Presidents budget expands the Child Care and Development Block Grant to help working families struggling to afford child care. The Presidents budget request will increase funding for child care subsidies by $817 million in FY 2001, enabling the program to serve nearly 150,000 more children next year. These new funds, combined with the child care funds provided in welfare reform, will enable the program to serve over 2.2 million children in 2001, an increase of nearly one million since 1997. The block grant is part of the Child Care and Development Fund, the primary federal subsidy program that helps families pay for child care, thereby enabling low-income parents to work. Today, millions of families who are eligible for assistance with their child care costs do not receive any help; in 1999, only about 12 percent of the 15 million low-income children eligible for assistance under federal law, received subsidies.
Tax Relief for Over 8 Million Families with Child Care Expenses
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) provides tax relief to those who, in order to work, pay for the care of a child under 13 or for a disabled dependent or spouse. The Presidents proposals, which cost $30 billion over 10 years, broaden this tax relief and will help over 8 million families pay their child care expenses:
Making the Credit Refundable for Nearly Two Million Working Parents. Under current law, a typical family of four with an income under $25,000 is ineligible for credits for child care expenses because it has no income tax liability. Many such families earn too little to claim the credit, but too much to get the full benefit of child care subsidies. To help these families, the President proposes to make the CDCTC refundable for the first time -- so that families with no tax liability can receive up to $2,400 to help offset the cost of child care. This proposal will assist nearly two million families.
Increasing the Child Care Tax Credit. For families earning up to $60,000, the President proposes to increase the maximum level of the CDCTC from 30 percent to 50 percent. This will provide an average additional tax cut of $249 for these families and eliminating tax liability for nearly all families with incomes below 200 percent of poverty that claim the maximum allowable child care expenses. Under this proposal, a family of four with an annual salary of $35,000, and child care expenses of $3,100, would receive a tax credit of $1,395 -- an increase of $775 over current law. This expansion proposal will help over four million working families pay for child care.
Providing Tax Relief to Parents Who Stay at Home. The President will also propose enabling parents who stay at home with children under age one to take advantage of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by claiming assumed child care expenses of $500. This proposal will provide an average tax cut of $154, benefiting almost two million parents.
Creating New Child Care Tax Incentives for Businesses
In his budget, President Clinton will also propose a new tax credit for businesses that provide child care services for their employees. These services could include: building or expanding child care facilities, operating existing facilities, training child care workers, or providing child care resource and referral services. The credit covers 25 percent of qualified costs (and 10 percent of resource and referral service expenses), but may not exceed $150,000 per year per business. The Presidents budget includes $539 million over five years for this tax credit..
Supporting High-Quality Early Childhood Educators
The Presidents budget includes $30 million to ensure that well-trained professionals are teaching our young children. The Early Childhood Professional Development initiative will provide competitive grants to local partnerships that can pull together universities, local school districts and child care providers. The initiative would focus on equipping early childhood educators with the tools they need to help children develop vital language and literacy skills.
Encouraging the Pursuit of Higher Education by Offering College Campus Based Child Care
To encourage low-income parents to pursue higher education, the Presidents budget includes $15 million a $10 million increase over last years funding level -- to provide an additional 150 college campuses with grants to support the establishment or expansion of child care services. States may also use a share of the Child Care and Development Block Grant for this purpose.
Retirement Savings Accounts To Help Families Save and Invest
The Presidents Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) proposal will give 76 million Americans the opportunity to build wealth and save for their retirement through a progressive tax cut. The Presidents proposal builds on the successful model of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), extending generous matches to all low- and moderate-income families to encourage them to develop savings and assets. A person who participated for 40 years in this savings program could accumulate over $266,000 enough to produce $24,000 a year of income in retirement. This proposal would cost $54 billion over 10 years.
Expand Pension Coverage for Small Businesses
In an effort to encourage more small businesses to offer pensions for their employees, the President will also announce a proposal to provide a 50 percent tax credit for qualified contributions to employees pensions. This provision would cost $17 billion over 10 years.
Tax Relief for Working Families: Simplifying Taxes and Rewarding Marriage and Work
Today as part of his State of the Union Address, President Clinton will announce his plan to reduce the marriage penalty for married, two-earner couples by increasing the standard deduction by nearly $2,000. The President will propose to increase the standard deduction for two-earner married couples to twice that of single filers, providing substantial tax relief for 9.1 million families. The President would provide an additional $500 increase in the standard deduction for single-earner married couples that do not face a marriage penalty. He would also increase the standard deduction for single filers by $250. The Presidents plan would cost $45 billion over 10 years and benefit 42.1 million families.
Patients Bill of Rights
The President and Vice President continue to challenge the Congress to finally finish the overdue job of passing patients rights legislation that includes critical protections such as: guaranteed access to needed health care specialists; access to emergency room services when and where the need arises; continuity of care protections so that patients will not have an abrupt transition in care if their providers are dropped; access to a fair, unbiased and timely internal and independent external appeals process to address health plan grievances; and an enforcement mechanism that ensures recourse for patients who have been harmed as a result of a health plans actions. Last fall, over 60 Republicans joined virtually every Democrat in the House in voting for the Norwood-Dingell Patients Bill of Rights. This strong, enforceable, patient protections bill should not be watered down in a manner that makes it ineffective and unworthy of signing. It should also not include provisions that do little more than further segment healthy from unhealthy populations without significantly expanding coverage for the currently uninsured.
Health Insurance Coverage Initiative
The President and Vice President strongly believe we should expand access to affordable health care coverage to more Americans. The budget proposes a 10-year, $110 billion initiative that would expand coverage to at least 5 million uninsured Americans and expand access to millions more. It addresses the nations coverage challenges by building on and complementing current private and public programs. Specifically, the initiative: (1) provides a new, affordable health insurance option for families called "FamilyCare," which builds on the State Childrens Health Insurance Program to provide higher Federal matching payments to parents of children eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid or S-CHIP; (2) accelerates enrollment of uninsured children eligible for Medicaid and S-CHIP; (3) expands health insurance options for Americans facing unique barriers to coverage, including a Medicare buy-in with a new 25 percent tax credit; a new 25 percent tax credit for COBRA continuation coverage; an initiative to help small businesses afford insurance, and new Medicaid options for vulnerable groups of Americans (people ages 19 and 20; people leaving welfare for work; legal immigrants); and (4) strengthens programs that provide health care directly to the uninsured. If enacted, this would be the largest investment in coverage since Medicare was created in 1965.
Strengthening and Modernizing Medicare
The Presidents budget includes a comprehensive plan to reform and modernize Medicare. This plan will: (1) make the program more efficient and competitive; (2) extend the solvency of the Health Insurance (HI) trust fund to at least 2025; (3) modernize benefits including adding a long-overdue, voluntary prescription drug benefit; and (4) create a reserve fund to be used for debt relief or to create bipartisan consensus to further strengthen the proposed drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries. Building on the Presidents successful fight against fraud and waste, the plan would dedicate over $300 billion in savings and surplus over 10 years to the HI trust fund, helping to meet the inevitable financing and health challenges that result from the aging of the baby boom. The proposed prescription drug benefit would be voluntary, available and affordable to all beneficiaries, including low-income beneficiaries who would pay low to no costs for coverage. It would be administered by private organizations like pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) and would give financial incentives to employers who currently offer retiree prescription drug benefits to maintain coverage. Finally, a reserve fund would be created for debt reduction or, if there is bipartisan consensus, to strengthen the Administrations drug benefit by adding protections against the cost of catastrophic drug expenses.
Long-Term Care Initiative
The budget proposes a 10-year, $28 billion initiative that helps address the nations multifaceted long-term care challenge. It includes: (1) a $3,000 tax credit to compensate people with long-term care needs or their caregivers for the cost of care; (2) a major new investment in the Older Americans Act for information and referral as well as direct support services for family caregivers; (3) a new Medicaid option to increase income eligibility levels for home and community based services to the same levels as nursing home residents; (4) a Housing and Urban Development program to encourage assisted living facilities for low-income elderly; and (5) a new option for Federal employees to purchase quality private long-term care insurance. The FY 2001 budget also includes an additional $16.8 million to help states strengthen nursing home enforcement tools and increase Federal oversight of nursing home quality and safety standards.
Increasing Federal Support for Improving the Mental Health of All Americans
According to the December 1999 Surgeon Generals Report on Mental Health, one in five Americans is living with a mental health disorder. This report states that the fundamental components of effective service delivery are broadly agreed upon, but in short supply. The President will highlight his new investment of $100 million for mental health services, an increase of 16 percent over last years funding level and a 90 percent increase since 1993.
Preventing Medical Errors and Improving Quality of Care
Late last year, the Institute of Medicine reported that as many as 98,000 Americans die from preventable medical errors each year. In response, the President instructed that the over 300 health plans serving Federal employees institute patient safety initiatives as a condition of participating in the program and directed all Federal agencies to conduct a comprehensive review of the steps they could take to reduce medical errors. In the coming weeks, the President will announce further actions we should take to help eliminate all preventable errors.
Major New Investment to Combat HIV and AIDS in the United States
The President has proposed to invest an additional $125 million in the Ryan White Program, an increase of almost 8 percent over last years funding level, to provide primary medical care, pharmaceuticals critical to treatment, and other critical support services for people living with HIV and AIDS. The budget also includes an additional $50 million for HIV prevention, the largest increase ever in funding for these activities, to encourage individuals at risk to avoid behaviors that can result in the transmission of the disease.
RESPONSIBILITY AND CRIME
21st Century Policing Initiative
In order to keep crime rates down to record low levels, and officers on the beat at all time highs, the President is committed to continuing the second year of his 21st Century Policing Initiative. The 21st Policing Initiative, builds on his successful COPS program that has funded 100,000 more community police for our streets, by: (1) providing resources for communities to hire and redeploy up to 50,000 more police for our streets by FY 2005 with an effort to target new police officers to crime "hot spots"; (2) giving law enforcement access to the latest crime-fighting and crime-solving technologies, such as improved police communications, crime mapping software, laptop computers, and crime lab improvements; and (3) funding new state and local prosecutors to work with local law enforcement and the community to combat local crime problems; and (4) engaging all sectors of the community to prevent and fight crime by funding partnerships with probation parole officers, schools, and faith-based organizations.
Fighting Gun Crime with New National Gun Enforcement Initiative
Building on his successful strategy of combating gun violence that has helped lead to a 35 percent decline in gun crime, the President proposed $280 million to fund the largest national gun enforcement initiative in history that specifically includes:
500 New ATF Agents and Inspectors - The Presidents initiative includes the largest increase ever in ATF agents and inspectors, with new agents to crack down on violent gun criminals and illegal gun traffickers at guns shows, gun stores and on the streets, and more firearms inspectors to target unscrupulous gun dealers who supply firearms to criminals and juveniles.
Over 1,000 New Federal, State and Local Gun Prosecutors - The proposal will fund 1,000 new state and local prosecutors to combat gun crime and violence, 100 new federal gun prosecutors, and new gun enforcement teams to coordinate efforts with local law enforcement to remove gun criminals from our communities and put them behind bars.
Comprehensive Crime Gun Tracing - To move toward tracing every crime gun in America, 250 local law enforcement agencies will receive training and tracing equipment to facilitate comprehensive tracing, and the Administrations Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) will be expanded from 38 to 50 cities across the country.
New National Integrated Ballistics Information Network - The Presidents initiative will triple current funding for ballistics testing programs to launch the first-ever national ballistics network -- to support the deployment of 150 ballistics imaging units to law enforcement, helping to link bullets and shell casings to the criminal guns they were fired from.
Local Anti-Gun Violence Media Campaigns - To help communities send a strong message to combat gun crime and violence, the initiative funds matching grants to support local media campaigns highlighting penalties for breaking gun laws, proper storage of firearms and preventing child access.
Funding Innovative Smart Gun Technology
The accidental gun death rate for children under 15 in the U.S. is nine times higher than 25 other industrialized nations combined. To help prevent accidental gun death and injuries of children who obtain access to guns, gun theft, and other unauthorized uses, the President committed to fund the expansion, testing and replication of "smart" gun technologies. These state-of-the-art gun safety precautions can limit a guns use to its adult owner or other authorized users.
Passing Common Sense Gun Legislation
In addition to pressing the Congress to pass his aggressive gun enforcement budget to give communities more and better tools to fight gun crime, President Clinton urged the Congress to make passage of pending common sense gun safety measures the first order of legislative business. Among the reforms he called on the Congress to enact include: closing the gun show loophole by requiring background checks and records at gun shows; requiring child safety locks for handguns sold; banning the importation of large capacity ammunition magazines; and banning violent juveniles from owning guns for life.
OPENING NEW MARKETS
The New Markets Initiative
The United States is currently in the midst of the longest peacetime expansion in its history. The strength and duration of this expansion has helped bring economic opportunity to millions of people once cut off from the economic mainstream. But too many urban and rural areas have not participated in this growth. These areas have tremendous potential as New Markets. The Presidents expanded New Markets initiative will spur $22 billion in new capital investment in businesses in these economically distressed areas through a package of tax credits and loan guarantees. The package includes the following components:
More Than Doubling the New Markets Tax Credit The President proposes to more than double the New Markets tax credit to spur $15 billion dollars in new investment in community development in economically distressed areas. An entity making new equity investments in a selected community development project would be eligible for a tax credit worth 25 percent of the cost of the investment. A variety of vehicles providing equity and credit to businesses in underserved areas would be eligible. The total cost of the tax credits amounts to about $5 billion over 10 years.
Expanded Empowerment Zone Tax Incentives - These tax credits will extend and improve economic growth in the 31 existing urban and rural Empowerment Zones, administered by HUD and USDA, and support a third round of 10 new empowerment zones to be designated in 2001. The total cost of these proposals will be $4.4 billion over 10 years.
Americas Private Investment Companies (APICs) - Modeled after the Overseas Private Investment Corporations (OPIC) successful investment fund program, APICs would provide guaranteed debt to private investment companies, licensed by HUD, to help leverage private equity capital and lower the cost of capital for investments in low- and moderate-income communities. For every dollar that private investors provide, the government will guarantee two dollars in debt to expand the APICs pool of capital available for making investments and enhance the return on those investments to the private investors. APICs will make equity investments in larger businesses that are expanding or relocating in inner cities and rural areas.
Other Elements of New Markets - Other elements include: increasing the funding for SBAs microenterprise lending program; creating PRIME-- a program providing technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs; boosting CDFI funding; expanding support for BusinessLINC to encourage large businesses to work with small businesses in new markets; and establishing a New Markets University Partnerships pilot project which, under the auspices of HUD, would provide Universities with funding to develop local community partnerships, assistance to intermediaries, and technical and business development assistance to new and existing firms. In addition, to better serve Native American communities, the President will provide additional funding to expand the New Markets initiative to Indian Country.
In the Mississippi Delta, poverty remains at 175 percent of the national average. The President has proposed the creation of a new Delta Regional Authority, modeled after the successful Appalachian Regional Commission, to bring the resources of a Federal-State partnership to the fight for economic growth in the region. This partnership will help bring the infrastructure and job training needed to make the Nation's prosperity a reality in the Delta.
Native American Initiative
In order to better serve Native American communities in this millennium and to honor the federal governments trust responsibility to tribes, the Presidents budget includes an increase of $1.2 billion over Fiscal Year 2000 for key new and existing programs assisting Native Americans and Indian reservations. This initiative brings together several agencies in order to address the needs of Native American communities comprehensively. Some of the highlights of this initiative include: $300 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs school construction and repair; $349 million through the Department of Transportation for roads in Indian Country; $650 million to provide rental and homeownership assistance through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and $2.6 billion for the Indian Health Service. Other key components of the Native American initiative include: "New Markets" economic development initiatives such as funding to create Native American Small Business Development Centers at the Small Business Administration; funding to create a Native American Economic Development Access Center at HUD; addressing the "digital divide" by creating a new program, in conjunction with the tribal colleges, to encourage Native Americans to enter information technology fields; funding 500 new Native American school administrators; increased funding for tribal colleges; $49 million to fund technology, infrastructure, planning, and public works projects at the Economic Development Administration; and increased funding of $103 million for the third year of the joint Department of Justice/Bureau of Indian Affairs Law Enforcement initiative.
Strengthening the Farm Safety Net
As the President has noted on numerous occasions since its passage, the 1996 Farm Bill fails to provide Americas farmers with an adequate safety net. As prices have remained depressed for the past two years, the Federal government has provided over $15 billion in emergency assistance. In order to provide American farmers and ranchers with the critical assistance that they need and deserve, the Presidents budget includes $11 billion to strengthen the farm safety net until the next farm bill in 2002, with three key components: conservation, supplemental income assistance, and crop insurance. The budget includes for FY 2001:
From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity
Access to computers and the Internet and the ability to use this technology effectively are becoming increasingly important for full participation in Americas economic, social and political life. Unfortunately, there is strong evidence of a "digital divide" unequal access to technology by income, education level, race, and geography. In 1998, those with a college degree were more than eight times more likely to have a computer at home and nearly sixteen times as likely to have home Internet access as those with an elementary school education. And the gap is widening. This growing divide also cleaves our community along income, ethnic, and geographic lines, with affluent, white, and urban/suburban households enjoying better computer and Internet access than their African-American, Hispanic, less affluent and more rural counterparts. To address this troubling trend, the President will shortly unveil a comprehensive program that relies on all levels of government working in partnership with the private sector and non-profit organizations and also will lead high-tech executives and others on a New Markets tour focused on closing the Digital Divide.
GLOBAL CHANGE AND AMERICAN LEADERSHIP
Benefits of Expanding International Trade
Trade has been crucial to American prosperity. Since World War II, as the U.S. has led eight separate rounds of multilateral trade negotiations and signed hundreds of trade agreements, global trade has increased 15-fold, contributing to the most rapid, sustained economic growth ever recorded. Real production in the United States is up 5-fold and real average American per capita income is up 3-fold over this period. Still, there remains much work to be done. Ninety-six percent of the worlds consumers live outside the US, many in countries that are only now achieving the means to become significant purchasers of American products.
Forging a New Consensus on Trade
American leadership over the last 50 years has helped develop a world trading system in which the United States is now the world's largest exporter and importer with over $2 trillion worth of goods and services in trade each year. Since the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1948, Democratic and Republican Administrations, working in partnership with Congress, have concluded eight negotiating Rounds, opening markets for American goods, and helping advance basic principles of rule of law, transparency, and fair play in the world economy. Most recently, since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round in 1994, a more open world economy has helped American exports to rise by well over $200 billion. This has contributed significantly to the rapid economic growth we have enjoyed over the past five years, and the continuation of the longest peacetime expansion in America's history. At the same time, it has helped us to gain high-skill, high-wage jobs, reverse a 20-year period of decline in wages, and in fact increase wages by 6% in real terms. Nevertheless, as President Clinton has said, we need to build a new consensus on trade by putting a human face on the global economy. The five years since the WTO was founded as the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) have revealed areas where the institution can be further strengthened in this regard -- including greater transparency, a greater role in addressing workers concerns about globalization through the establishment of a Working Group on Trade and Labor, and a commitment to sustainable development, including protection of the environment, as enshrined in the WTOs Preamble.
Trade Agreements Enforcement Initiative
The President is committed to ensuring that trade is free and fair and that American companies and workers benefit fully from our bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. He is proposing in FY 2001 that the Department of Commerce and related agencies have the resources necessary to monitor and enforce international trade agreements.
In his 1999 State of the Union address, President Clinton pledged: "[W]e will lead the international community to conclude a treaty to ban abusive child labor everywhere in the world." In June, he spoke to the ILO before it adopted the new convention and in December, with Senate advice and consent, he signed the convention on behalf of the United States. Now we must do more to help countries around the world make the conventions aspirations a reality, bringing education -- not hard labor -- to millions of children and preventing the loss of future generations of youth to abusive work. In the last two budgets, the United States became the worlds largest contributor to the ILOs International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labor (IPEC). This year, the President proposes to expand support for international efforts to eliminate child labor.
African Growth and Opportunity Act
In the State of the Union, President Clinton called upon Congress to pass the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), an important and groundbreaking piece of legislation, which recognizes African countries efforts to institute sound economic policies and reform. The House and Senate passed different versions of the legislation last year. The philosophy of the legislation is simple: America stands ready to help those African countries that undertake difficult reforms to build a better future. Effective aid, combined with strong reform and increased trade and investment, will help bring Africa into the global economy and create new markets for U.S. exports. American businesses, farmers, and workers all stand to benefit from expanding our trade with one of the largest underdeveloped markets in the world.
Caribbean Basin Trade Initiative
The President will work with Congress toward swift passage of legislation expanding our Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) trading relationship with Caribbean and Central American countries. As part of a package including the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, the Senate passed legislation last fall similar to that which the Administration has proposed. The Presidents CBI enhancement legislation will create opportunities for American companies and workers as it provides enhanced market access and economic stimulus for countries devastated by Hurricane Mitch. The Administration is strongly committed to conclude, by 2005, negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, which will expand U.S. export opportunities throughout Latin America, and views CBI enhancement as a useful bridge to this initiative.
Promoting Democracy and Advancing Human Rights
Promoting democracy and advancing human rights has been a central priority of the Clinton-Gore Administrations foreign policy, one that he will again stress in his State of the Union address. Over the past seven years, the Clinton Administration has succeeded in ending bloodshed and reducing tensions in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, East Timor, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Sierra Leone and elsewhere has offered new hope for peace, democracy and prosperity. This year the President will reaffirm his commitment to advance this cause by calling for continued support for his efforts to broker peace, promote democracy, protect human rights, defend religious freedom, and fully fund our diplomacy.
Leading the Global Campaign Against AIDS and Other Deadly Diseases
Although much progress has been made in the fight against AIDS and other deadly diseases, much more still needs to be done. To that end, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have stepped up the international battle to prevent, treat, and search for a cure for AIDS, which has disproportionately afflicted our poorest nations. The FY2001 budget that the President will send to Congress next month calls for an additional $100 million investment in AIDS prevention, care, public health infrastructure, and education in the African and Asian countries that have been hit the hardest by the disease. Vice President Gore announced this additional funding during an address to the UN Security Council in early January. The President has also called for a new tax credit for sales of vaccines for malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS to accelerate the development of these vaccines, creating an incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to invest in the development of vaccines for poor countries, which often cannot afford to buy the vaccines they need. This would build upon a proposed $50 million investment in the vaccine purchase fund of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. Finally, the President will call upon the World Bank and other multilateral development banks to dedicate an additional $400 million to $900 million annually of their low-interest-rate loans to expand immunization, prevent and treat common diseases, and build sound delivery systems for other basic health services.
U.S.-China Trade Agreement
Under the terms of the agreement, China has agreed to grant the United States significant new access to its rapidly growing market of over one billion people, while we have agreed simply to maintain the market access policies we already apply to China by granting it permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR). The agreement slashes Chinese tariffs on our goods, opens Chinas markets to our services, and contains safeguards against unfair trading practices. The agreement also advances critical national security goals. WTO membership will spur Chinas economy, adding impetus to reforms there; introduce China to global economic competition and accelerate a process that is removing the government from vast areas of the countrys economic life; open Chinas telecommunications market, including to Internet and satellite services, and thus expose China to information, ideas and debate from around the world; and oblige the government to publish laws and regulations and subject pertinent decisions to review of an international body, all of which will strengthen the rule of law in China and increase the likelihood that it will play by global rules as well. While WTO membership will not by itself or overnight transform Chinas human rights record, it will move the country in the right direction. The United States must grant China permanent NTR or risk ceding the full benefits of the agreement we negotiated to our Asian and European competitors. For all these reasons, the President will make passage of this historic legislation a high priority in the coming year.
Building Peace in the Middle East
After days of intense negotiations at Wye Plantation in November 1998, President Clinton brokered an historic agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that strengthens Israels security, expands the area of Palestinian control in the West Bank, and enhances economic opportunities for the Israeli and Palestinian people. And in December of last year, President Clinton ended years of stalemate between Syria and Israel by achieving a resumption of Israeli-Syrian peace talks and hosting the highest level meeting ever between Israel and Syria after months of behind-the-scenes diplomacy. The United States has helped broker agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and between Israel and Jordan, and led the efforts toward a resumption of the Israeli-Syrian talks. The United States has stood firmly by those who have taken risks for peace, providing them with strong political, economic and material support; and demonstrated to the enemies of peace that violence and terror will not succeed in disrupting the peace process. At the same time, the United States has maintained its long-standing commitment to the security of Israel, strengthened its ties with Egypt and Jordan, , and built a new relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people.
Bringing Peace to Northern Ireland
President Clintons intensive diplomatic efforts helped achieve the landmark Good Friday Accord in April 1998, bringing new governing structures and a new era of cooperation to Northern Ireland. And in December of last year, both sides made historic progress towards implementation of the Accord, forming of an inclusive government in Northern Ireland, accepting the principle of consent with respect to any change in the territorial status of Northern Ireland, launching new institutions for North/South cooperation on the island, and taking the first steps to address the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons. In his State of the Union address, President Clinton reaffirmed his support for full implementation of the agreement, so Northern Ireland can pursue a prosperous, democratic course, free of violence and terror. The United States will also continue to support the International Fund for Ireland, which promotes reconciliation through economic regeneration projects targeting disadvantaged Irish border counties and Northern Ireland.
Reversing Ethnic Cleansing in Kosovo
This past year, President Clinton led the NATO Alliance in a 79-day air war that expelled Serb forces from Kosovo and restored self-government to the province, ending a decade of repression and reversing Slobodan Milosovics brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing. In the face of Allied unity, American military superiority, and strong Presidential leadership, the Serb dictator capitulated, withdrawing his troops and permitting international peacekeepers to secure the peace for returning refugees. The President is now committed to winning the peace, joining European leaders in strengthening democracy and civil society in Kosovo, enhancing economic development and regional integration through the Stability Pact, and supporting opposition within Serbia to complete the democratization of the Balkans.
Protecting Our Computer Networks from Cyber Attack
In his State of the Union address, President Clinton reaffirmed his commitment to strengthen Americas defense against the emerging threats cyber terrorists pose to our critical infrastructure, computer systems, and networks. Earlier this month, he launched the National Plan for Information Systems Protection and announced new budget proposals to protect our computer networks from cyber attack, including $621 million to enhance federal research and development in computer security; $50 million to create a new Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection; $25 million to recruit, train and retain federal information technology experts; and $10 million to design a Federal Intrusion Detection Network (FIDNET) which alerts the federal government to cyber attacks. President Clinton has increased funding on critical infrastructure substantially over the past three years, including a 16% increase in the FY2001 budget proposal to $2.03 billion. He has also developed and funded new initiatives to defend the nations computer systems from cyber attack. To jumpstart the FY01 program initiatives, the President will also propose a $9 million supplemental this spring.
Combating International Crime
In his State of the Union address, President Clinton highlighted new measures to combat international money laundering, which facilitates illegal money flows, fosters corruption, and undermines democracy. Combating international money laundering has become an increasingly important issue for the United States. The last decade has seen an explosive proliferation of offshore banking centers that facilitate international criminal money flows. This proliferation also works against U.S. developmental goals by allowing easy placement of funds obtained from official corruption. There is also a growing concern that these offshore centers can contribute to significant financial destabilization, by providing new avenues for unregulated capital flight and new opportunities for financial management entities incorporated in these jurisdictions to take advantage of the absence of supervisory authorities to engage in activities that would be prohibited in the United States.
Aiding Colombia to Fight Drugs and Strengthen Democracy
Eighty percent of the cocaine entering the U.S. is either processed, transported, or grown in Colombia. For the first time in years, a new administration, led by President Andres Pastrana, is taking the tough steps necessary to crack down both on narcotics traffickers and human rights violators. The President recently announced his support for a bold new plan developed by President Pastrana to both stem the tide of drugs entering the United States and to strengthen the Colombian economy and democracy. To assist the Colombians in this effort, the President has proposed a total of $1.6 billion in funding over two years to help fight narcotics trafficking, provide economic alternatives for Colombian farmers who now grow coca and poppy plants, improve the judicial system, increase the protection of human rights, and crack down on money laundering. A portion of the investment will go to help train and equip special counter-narcotics battalions and to improve the Colombian capability to interdict traffickers by improving radar, aircraft, airfields, and intelligence-gathering equipment. The Administration will also propose $95 million to purchase equipment to enable the Colombian National Police to eradicate more coca and poppy fields, and $93 million for new programs to help the judicial system and promote the peace process. Most of the effort will be financed from the Colombian government's own resources. The aid from the United States is expected to be supplemented by multilateral agencies and our allies.
International Debt Relief
At their Summit last June, G-7 leaders endorsed a new initiative spearheaded by the President to enable Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) to receive deeper, broader and faster debt relief. Under the so-called Cologne Initiative, international financial institutions are developing a new framework for linking debt relief with poverty reduction. The goal is to boost resources for priority social expenditures, including health, child survival, AIDS prevention and education, as well as improve transparency in government budgeting and consultation with civil society in the development and implementation of economic programs. Together with earlier debt relief commitments, the Cologne Initiative provides for reduction of up to 70 percent of the total debts for these countries, decreasing the stock of debt from about $127 billion today to as low as $37 billion with the cancellation of official development assistance (ODA) debt by G-7 and other bilateral creditors. As part of the initiative, the President announced in September that the U.S. would seek to write off all of the $5.7 billion it is owed by as many as 36 heavily indebted poor countries. Last fall, Congress passed part of the funding and authority necessary for the United States full participation in the initiative, and the President is seeking approval of the remainder this year.
Leading the Way in Global Non-Proliferation
The Clinton-Gore Administration has led the effort to reduce the international threat of weapons of mass destruction. Over the past six years, the Administration has made unprecedented progress in curbing the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles that deliver them, in reducing the dangerous legacy of Cold War weapons' stockpiles and in promoting responsible conventional arms transfer policies. President Clinton was the first world leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and has proposed a bipartisan dialogue this year to build a consensus that will lead to its eventual ratification. The United States has also ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention and is working to strengthen the 1972 treaty outlawing biological weapons and to achieve a positive Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.
Strengthening Military Readiness
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have remained committed to ensuring that Americas military remains the best-equipped, best-trained and best-prepared fighting force in the world, ready to face the continuing challenges posed by the post-Cold War world and the challenges of a new century. He has matched new commitments with new resources, requesting and receiving from Congress billions in additional defense spending in 1999, reversing declines that began a decade ago. The FY2000 budget proposed a six-year increase of $112B for military readiness and modernization through a combination of new spending and budgetary savings, assuring the first sustained real (after inflation) increase for defense spending in over a decade. This plan increased military pay by the largest percentage since the early 1980s, and increased the 20-year retirement benefit from 40% to 50% of average base pay over the last three years of service. The Presidents 2001 Defense budget builds on this plan, ensuring military readiness remains first-rate for years to come. Moreover, significant increases are proposed for weapons modernization to guarantee the continued technological superiority of U.S. forces.
RESPONSIBILITY, OPPORTUNITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
To meet the conservation challenges of a new century, President Clinton is proposing a new category of dedicated, discretionary funding to protect Americas land, coastal and wildlife resources. In FY 2000, the President secured $652 million for Lands Legacy, a 42 percent increase. For FY 2001, the President is proposing another substantial increase and creation of a new budget category to preserve this higher level of funding in future years. The proposed FY 2001 funding would dramatically increase support for state, local and tribal efforts to protect farmland, forests, urban parks and other local green spaces. It also would provide significant increases for federal, state, local and tribal efforts to protect ocean and coastal resources. In addition, Lands Legacy would supported federal protection of natural and historic lands across the country, with priorities including Civil War battlefields, the Florida Everglades, the Mojave Desert, and New England forests and wildlife refuges.
Against a backdrop of growing scientific consensus that the Earth is warming and that human activity is at least partly to blame the President is proposing a series of new initiatives to address global climate change. The Presidents FY 2001 budget will propose a new effort to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies in developing countries; increased funding for the research and development of bio-based technologies that use crops, trees and agricultural waste to make fuels and products; and start-up funding for a Clean Air Partnership Fund to support state and local efforts that achieve early reductions in both greenhouse gas emissions and ground-level air pollutants. Other elements of the Administrations climate change strategy include continued increases in both investments and tax incentives to spur the development and deployment of clean energy technologies and energy-efficient cars, homes, and appliances; cutting energy use by the Federal government; working with Congress to reward companies taking early, voluntary action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; restructuring the electricity industry; and continued diplomatic efforts to fill in key details of the Kyoto Protocol and secure more meaningful participation by key developing countries in the fight against global warming.
Tax credits for energy-efficient cars, homes and appliances
Cars and light trucks (including minivans, sport utilities, and pickups) currently account for 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Presidents FY 2001 budget will propose tax incentives to help curb these emissions by moving advanced technologies for electric, fuel cell, and hybrid vehicles from the laboratory to the highway. Tax credits would be offered for the purchase of qualifying hybrid vehicles from 2003 through 2006; and the current tax credit for electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles would be extended through 2006. The President also is proposing a tax credits for the purchase of energy-efficient homes; for solar energy systems; for the purchase of energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment; and for wind and biomass power.
Clean Energy for the 21st Century
Energy technology markets in developing countries are projected to total $4 trillion to $5 trillion over the next 20 years. To accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies around the world, President Clinton is proposing the Clean Energy for the 21st Century: International Initiative a multi-agency effort to encourage remove market barriers to clean energy technologies in developing and transition countries and to provide new incentives for clean energy technology innovation and export. This initiative, which builds on a set of recommendations by the Presidents Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), will create as much as $5 billion in new export revenues for U.S. companies and up to 100,000 new U.S. jobs, and will assist developing countries in powering their economic development while fighting air pollution and climate change.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore are proposing to strengthen the Livable Communities initiative, which expands the choices available to communities to help them grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life and strong, sustainable economic growth. The Administrations FY 2001 budget will propose record funding for public transit and other programs to ease traffic congestion while reducing air pollution; matching grants to help neighboring communities develop collaborative "smart growth" strategies; and funding to provide communities with new information tools, and improve public safety by sharing crime data. The Administration also will propose tax credits for Better America Bonds, a new financing tool generating billions in bond authority for investments by state, local and tribal governments to preserve green space, create or restore urban parks, protect water quality, and clean up brownfields (abandoned industrial sites). By delivering tools and resources to the local level, where issues of growth management are most appropriately addressed, this initiative helps empower citizens to build more "livable communities" for the 21st century.
THE OPPORTUNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Major New Investments in Science and Technology Research
President Clinton n has announced that he will include a nearly $3 billion increase in the "Twenty-First Century Research Fund" in his FY2001 budget, including a $1 billion increase in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health and double the largest dollar increase for the National Science Foundation in its 50 year history. These investments will ensure that science and technology will continue to fuel economic growth and allow Americans to lead longer, healthier lives. The funding includes increased support in all scientific and engineering disciplines, including biomedical research, nanotechnology, information technology, clean energy, and university-based research. The President's budget includes:
$1 billion increase in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health. The Presidents FY 2001 budget includes almost $19 billion, an increase of $1 billion over last years funding level, for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the President will eliminate the delays in releasing $4 billion in research funds as required in last years appropriations bill. This increase will support research in areas such as diabetes, brain disorders, cancer, genetic medicine, disease prevention strategies, and development of an AIDS vaccine. It will also help researchers complete in the near future a first draft of the entire human genome the very blueprint of life. This and other wise investments in science are leading to a revolution in our ability to detect, treat, and prevent disease. If Congress passes the Presidents proposal, funding for NIH will increase by over 80 percent nearly twice what the NIH budget was when President Clinton came into office.
A new $495 million National Nanotechnology Initiative. Nanotechnology - the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules - could revolutionize the 21st century in the same way that the transistor did the 20th. Increased investments in nanotechnology could lead to breakthroughs such as molecular computers that can store the contents of the Library of Congress in a device the size of a sugar cube, and new materials ten times stronger than steel and a fraction of the weight.
A $675 million increase in the National Science Foundation -- double the largest dollar increase in NSFs history. This increase will boost university-based research and ensure balanced support for all science and engineering disciplines. NSF accounts for half of all non-health, university-based research.
An almost $600 million increase in information technology research. This increase in information technology research could lead to advances such as high-speed wireless networks that can bring distance learning and telemedicine to isolated rural areas; and supercomputers that can more accurately predict tornadoes and hurricanes and more rapidly develop life-saving drugs.
Protecting Americans' Personal Privacy
As information technology transforms our government and our economy, a growing challenge is how to gain the benefits from the new technology while preserving one of our oldest values privacy in a variety of different settings:
Medical Records: This year the Clinton-Gore Administration will issue historic, final rules that will legally guarantee the key privacy protections: notice of data uses; consent before records are used for non-medical purposes; patient access to records; proper security; and effective enforcement. President Clinton also will support legislation to expand the scope and enforcement of those rules
Financial Information: Financial modernization legislation signed by President Clinton last year included important privacy protections, but more needs to be done. This year, the President will seek further protections, including consumer choice before financial firms can share their information within a corporate family.
Genetic Information: As the human genome project nears completion, genetic testing and information will be increasingly common to help predict, prevent, and treat diseases. However, there are real concerns that as this information becomes increasingly common that it will be used not to promote health in a protected manner, but will be used as a basis for discrimination. There are already examples of employers using this type of information as a basis not to hire or promote individuals and studies are showing that Americans fear that this information will be misused. The President will stress the need for strong action on this issue.
On-line: In the on-line world, the Clinton-Gore Administration has encouraged self-regulatory efforts by industry to address privacy issues posed by emerging technologies and will work with consumers, industry, and interested public officials to explore how best to address the growing practice of building detailed profiles of every action consumers take online.
Service And Philanthropy
AmeriCorps and Encouraging Community Service
Since the start of his Administration, the President has encouraged and facilitated community service. Over 150,000 young people have participated in AmeriCorps they have helped to immunize more than a million people; taught, tutored or mentored 4.4 million children; helped build some 11,000 homes; and truly sparked a new spirit of public engagement across the land. The Presidents budget includes over $850 million for the Corporation for National Service. This increase of nearly $120 million keeps AmeriCorps on track for the Presidents goal of 100,000 members each year by the year 2004. The budget will also include a new "AmeriCorps Reserves" program, modeled after the military reserves, and designed to engage former Corps members in times of need. The budget also includes $15.5 million in new initiatives that reward innovations in youth service, as well as additional resources to encourage service by senior citizens, and to engage students in service through a new "Community Coaches" program.
Increasing Involvement of Interfaith Partnerships and Community
Already many faith and community-based organizations partner with government to help our nations families, but the President and Vice President believe we should do more, and their budget proposes to increase the involvement of interfaith and community-based organizations in after school, housing, community development, criminal justice, welfare reform, teen pregnancy prevention, and juvenile justice programs, consistent with the constitutional line between church and state.
Increasing Charitable Giving
In his State of the Union address and his new budget, President Clinton today will unveil a package of new tax proposals to encourage philanthropy. First, he will propose allowing nonitemizers to take a tax deduction for charitable giving. Second, he will propose new rules to make it easier for charitable foundations to make gifts in times of need. And third, he will propose making it easier for individuals to donate appreciated assets like securities and real property. Last October, the President and First Lady convened the first-ever White House Conference on Philanthropy. The conference highlighted the unique American tradition of charitable giving, and emphasized that at a moment of great prosperity, we must preserve and expand this tradition. These proposals will help do just that
Civil Rights Enforcement
President Clintons FY 2001 budget proposes a significant increase for civil rights enforcement to help ensure equal opportunity for all Americans. These funds will help to ensure that no American is discriminated against at work, a home, or in school. The Presidents budget request of $698 million for civil rights enforcement agencies represents a $81 million, or 13 percent increase, over last year's funding levels of $617 million. Highlights of the Presidents package include: (1) $98 million Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice -- a 20 percent increase over the 2000 enacted level -- to expand investigations and prosecutions of criminal civil rights cases (including hate crimes and police misconduct), promote compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and review redistricting plans; (2) $322 million for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -- an increase of 15 percent over the 2000 enacted level --to support the agency's effort to reduce the backlog of private sector cases to 28,000 by the end of 2001; (3) $76 million for Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) -- an increase of 4 percent over the 2000 enacted level --to expand the compliance assistance strategy to encourage Federal contractor compliance through increased outreach, education, and technical assistance, including providing contractors with the necessary tools to evaluate their equal employment practices; (4) $50 million for Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) fair housing efforts -- an increase of 14 percent over the 2000 enacted level -- to reduce housing discrimination, including funding for the final year of a three-year audit-based enforcement initiative and training for housing providers to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to housing.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act ("ENDA")
This bill would outlaw discrimination in hiring, firing, and promotions based on sexual orientation. It is designed to protect the rights of all Americans to participate in the job market without fear of unfair discrimination. The Act provides an exemption for small businesses, the Armed Forces, and religious organizations, including schools and other educational institutions that are substantially controlled or supported by religious organizations. The bill specifically prohibits preferential treatment on the basis of sexual orientation, including quotas. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are the first President and Vice President ever to back civil rights legislation for gays and lesbians. President Clinton originally announced his support for the legislation in October 1995.
The Hate Crimes Prevention Act
The President has urged Congress to pass, as one of its first orders of business, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would strengthen the existing federal hate crimes law by expanding the situations in which the Department of Justice can prosecute defendants for violent crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin. Further, it would expand existing law to cover cases of hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender, or disability. The Presidents budget includes $20 million for training for federal, state, and local law enforcement to prevent and respond to hate crimes, and to promote police integrity.
English Literacy/Civics Initiative
Like generations of immigrants past, todays immigrants are driven by a dream and to achieve that dream, they seek to learn the ways of this land and become full participants in American society. To this end, President Clinton is proposing an increase for the English Language/Civics Initiative an innovative program to help states and communities provide limited English proficient (LEP) individuals with expanded access to high-quality English-language instruction linked to civics and life skills instruction, including understanding and navigating the U.S. government system, the public education system, the workplace, and other key institutions of American life. This important initiative is a powerful tool in building a stronger American community. For FY 2001, the Administrations budget request $75 million for this initiative, a nearly $50 million increase from FY 2000 enacted level.
Fairness to Immigrant Families
The Administration is committed to improving the way the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) conducts its business, particularly the naturalization process that bestows United States citizenship. The Administration's FY 2001 budget provides additional funds to INS to improve the naturalization process and reduce the application backlogs and to expand the process to ensure that all immigration benefits and services are provided in a fair, efficient, and timely manner. Furthermore, the Administration will continue to urge Congress to pass legislation that provides fairness for immigrant families by restructuring the INS; approving the Administrations proposal to support the process of democratization and stabilization now underway in Central American and Haiti by ensuring equitable treatment for migrants from these countries; and changing the registry date to permit long-term migrants to adjust their status.
GOVERNMENTAL AND POLITICAL REFORM
Enact Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform
The President and the Vice President remain committed to the enactment of bipartisan campaign finance reform. Last year, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan reform. Tonight the President is challenging the Senate to follow suit and enact real reform early this year. Acceptable campaign finance reform legislation must meet five criteria: 1) it must be bipartisan; 2) it must be comprehensive; 3) it must reduce the amount of money that is raised and spent on federal elections; 4) it must help level the playing field between challengers and incumbents; and 5) it cannot favor one party over the other.
Three months into our Administration, the Vice President took charge of our reinventing government initiative. Seven years later, the government is the smallest its been in nearly 40 years over 350,000 fewer employees. And its focused on giving Americans customer service equal to the best in business by getting results they care about. Were tossing aside outdated bureaucratic binders and red tape that too often kept us from making a real difference in peoples lives. But this is not just another exercise in "good government" -- our goal is nothing short of restoring the American peoples trust in their government. When we started, only 21% of the American people trusted government to do the right thing all or most of the time -- down from 76% under President Kennedy. Today, that figure is back up to 40% -- a dramatic turnaround. But its not nearly good enough. And we wont rest until "change" and "customer service" become a permanent part of the landscape and a majority of Americans trust their government again.
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