Statement by the President on the Continuing Resolution (10/14/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                          October 14,

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Two weeks ago, the fiscal 2000 budget year ended.  Since then, I have
had to sign two short-term continuing resolutions to keep the government
open.  Yet Congress has yet to complete and send me 8 of 13 spending bills.
Last night, I signed another one-week extension.  Let me serve notice now:
if Congress fails to meet this deadline, any further extensions must be at
most for a very few days.  Congress needs to finish its work and send me a
budget.  It should be a budget that is fiscally responsible, that reflects
the values of the American people, and that invests in the future,
especially in the education of our children.

     I sent such a budget to Congress in February.  Among other things, my
budget calls for tax credits to help communities build or modernize 6,000
schools, and grants and loans for emergency repairs in 5,000 schools a year
for five years.  The need is undeniable.  The average American school
building is now more than 40 years old.  At least 60 percent of the schools
in every state are in need of repair.  And some schools actually pose
health risks to students. I received a letter yesterday from some of the
nation?s top health organizations, including the American Lung Association
and the National Association of school nurses.  They point out that in many
of our older school buildings, the air is polluted with lead, radon gas,
and other substances harmful to our children?s health.

     These groups endorse my proposal to rebuild and repair our schools.  A
bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives is ready right now to
pass school construction tax credits. Unfortunately, the Republican
leadership continues to stand in the way and refuses to bring it to a vote.
It?s time for Congress to act.  It?s unfair to ask America?s children to
lift themselves up in school buildings that are falling down.

     The majority party?s education budget also fails to make other vital
investments in education. It does not ensure the hiring of another 20,000
teachers to reduce class sizes.  It denies afterschool to over 1.6 million
children who would get it under my balanced budget proposal. It
shortchanges efforts to improve teacher quality.  And it invests nothing to
help states turn around failing schools or shut them down and reopen them
under new management.

     The continuing resolution I signed last night gives Congress seven
more days to act.  That is enough time to pass a responsible budget that
modernizes our schools, strengthens accountability, lowers class sizes,
expands afterschool, mentoring, and college opportunities for young people,
and helps put a qualified teacher in every classroom.  It should also be a
budget that puts more police on the street, that enforces civil rights,
ensures equal pay, expands health care, and creates opportunities for all
Americans to share in our strong economy through our New Markets

     At this time of unprecedented prosperity, there is no reason we can?t
put partisanship aside and make the investments we know will move our
nation forward, especially in the education of our children.  By building
stronger schools, we'll build a stronger America in the future.


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