Letter from the Chief of Staff to the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives (7/22/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Okinawa, Japan)

For Immediate Release                                         July 22, 2000

                              July 21, 2000

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, DC  20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

     Thank you for your prompt reply to my letter.  As always, we are eager
to participate in a bicameral and bipartisan meeting to discuss the FY 2001
appropriations bills.  Although we have not yet been invited to such a
meeting, we stand ready to attend at your earliest convenience.

     Moreover, I assure you that we would agree to a Labor, Health and
Human Services, and Education appropriations bill that builds on the House
and Senate bills, so long as the President?s priorities are also met and
the bill is free of objectionable legislative riders such as the ban on the
ergonomics regulation.  The bill must provide full funding for initiatives
to support childcare, class size reduction, urgent school renovation,
after-school programs, educational accountability, GEAR-UP, and worker
training.  Congress needs to pass a budget that invests more in our schools
and demands more from them, not one that invests too little and demands too
little in return.  In addition, we must address key health and social
service programs for the uninsured, for people with HIV/AIDS, and for
families who care for the chronically ill.  The House and Senate bills
either shortchange these important priorities or provide no funding for
them whatsoever.  The working families of America deserve more from their

     The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill brings
into Conference a version of the Patients? Bill of Rights, unfortunately in
an unacceptable form.  The proposal passed by the Senate leaves out over
135 million Americans, provides inadequate protections, effectively rolls
back state enforcement provisions that hold plans accountable for actions
that harm patients, and includes expensive and inefficient health care tax
proposals.  We should take advantage of the opportunity this bill presents
to work together to pass a real Patients? Bill of Rights - a goal that I
know you personally share.  A strong, enforceable set of patient
protections, like those included in the Norwood-Dingell bill passed by the
House last year, would go a long way in restoring public confidence in the
nation?s health care delivery system.

     The President?s FY 2001 Budget is based on a balanced approach that
maintains fiscal discipline, eliminates the national debt, extends the
solvency of Social Security and Medicare, provides for an appropriately
sized tax cut, establishes a new voluntary Medicare prescription drug
benefit in the context of broader reforms, expands health care coverage to
more families, and funds critical investments for our future.  An essential
element of this approach is ensuring adequate funding for discretionary

     As always, OMB Director Lew is ready to attend bipartisan meetings
with whomever you deem appropriate so we can proceed on these issues of
great importance.  We still have time to work together to get a lot done
for the American people.


                              John Podesta
                              Chief of Staff to the President

                                   # # #

President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E