PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
Working on Behalf of the Hispanic Community
Closing the Book on A Generation of Deficits. In 1992, the deficit was $290 billion, a record dollar high. This year, the Administration expects the budget surplus to be $99 billion, the largest budget surplus in history.
Saving Social Security. Earlier this year, the President outlined his plan to save Social Security and extend the life of the Social Security Trust Fund. The President would lock away the Social Security surpluses to prevent them from being used to fund other programs. In addition, his plan would transfer the interest savings from reducing the national debt to the Social Security Trust Fund and increase the return on Social Security funds through private investment. The President has put forth a balanced budget that maintains our sound economic strategy and invests the budget surplus in our long-term goals: saving Social Security and securing Medicare for the 21st Century.
Nearly 19 Million New Jobs. More than 90 percent of the new jobs have been created in the private sector, the highest percentage in 50 years.
Record-Low Unemployment for Latinos. Under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the Latino unemployment rate has dropped from 11.6 percent in 1992 to 7.2 percent in 1998 -- its lowest annual level ever. As of June 1999, the monthly Hispanic unemployment was even lower at 6.8 percent.
Income of Median Hispanic Households Up $2,553 in Past Two Years. In 1997, the income of the median Hispanic household, adjusted for inflation, increased from $25,477 in 1996 to $26,628 in 1997 -- an increase of $1,151 or 4.5 percent. Over the past two years, the income of the typical Hispanic household has risen $2,553 -- or nearly 11 percent -- the largest two-year increase in Hispanic income on record.
Real Wages Are Rising for Hispanics. The real wages of Hispanics have risen rapidly in the past two years, up 4.2 percent for Hispanic men and 2.7 percent for Hispanic women since 1996.
Inflation -- Lowest Since 1950s. Inflation remains non-existent at 1.6 percent for the beginning of 1999. In 1998, the GDP price index rose 1.0 percent at an annual rate -- its lowest level since the 1950s.
Strong Private Sector Growth. In the first quarter, private-sector GDP growth was up 4.4 percent. Since President Clinton took office, the private sector of the economy has grown an average of 4.0 percent per year -- compared to 3.0 percent under President Reagan and 1.3 percent under President Bush.
Tax Cuts For Low-Income Working Families. President Clinton' s 1993 Economic Plan provided tax cuts to 15 million hard-pressed working families by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The average family with two kids who received the EITC received a tax cut of $1,026. In 1997, the EITC lifted more than 1.2 million Hispanics out of poverty.
Largest Hispanic Poverty Drop In Two Decades. In 1997, the Hispanic poverty rate dropped from 29.4 percent to 27.1 percent -- the largest one-year drop in Hispanic poverty since 1978. Since President Clinton took office, Hispanic poverty has dropped from 30.6 percent to 27.1 percent. While this marks significant progress, President Clinton will continue to fight for policies that help to raise incomes and reduce poverty.
Minimum Wage Increased. The President raised the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour -- directly benefiting 1.6 million Hispanic workers.
Fighting for Paycheck Equity. The President has called on Congress to pass legislation to strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination. In 1997, the median earnings of Hispanic women represented 56 percent of the median earnings for all men.
Two and a Half Times More Small Business Loans to Hispanic Entrepreneurs. Between 1993 and 1997 the SBA approved nearly 15,000 loans to Hispanic entrepreneurs under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. In 1997 alone, the Small Business Administration granted more than 3,300 loans, worth $615 million, to Hispanic small business owners, two and a half times the number of loans granted in 1992.
Supporting Minority Business Communities and Increasing Access to Capital. Building on the efforts of the SBA, Vice President Gore unveiled aggressive plans to increase lending and business services to the Hispanic and African American business communities nationwide. SBA has entered partnership agreements with national leadership organizations, and engaged its national network of field offices and resources in the effort. SBA also licensed the first Hispanic-managed venture capital fund. In addition, the Vice President announced an unprecedented agreement between SBA and the “Big Three” U.S. automakers to increase subcontracting awards to minority businesses by nearly $3 billion over the next three years -- a 50 percent increase over current levels.
Ensuring Minority Business Owners Have a Fair Opportunity to Compete. The President signed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century into law on June 9, 1998. The Act protects the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, a program that ensures that minority and women-owned businesses have an opportunity to compete for transportation projects. The Administration helped defeat an amendment to the House version of this bill that would have eliminated the DBE Program. In a different measure, the President also approved the creation of a new program to target assistance to minority-owned businesses in industries that continue to reflect the effects of discrimination. As a result, thousands of minority-owned businesses will be able to compete more effectively for government contracts.
Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. The Clinton Administration has announced 105 EZs and ECs across the country. This effort was proposed by President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, and passed by Congress in 1993. The EZ/EC effort has generated more than $2 billion of new private sector investment in community development activities. The President has also signed into law a second round of EZs -- 15 new urban and 5 new rural zones -- which will include tax incentives, small business expensing, and private activity bonds. In FY99, President Clinton and Congress provided first-year funding of $55 million for the new EZs, and $5 million in first-year funding for 20 new rural Enterprise Communities announced in January. The FY 2000 Budget proposes mandatory funding for ten years: $150 million a year for urban EZs and Strategic Planning Communities; $10 million a year for rural EZs; and $5 million a year for rural ECs.
Expanding Access to Capital with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). Proposed and signed into law by the President in 1994, the CDFI Fund, through grants, loans and equity investments, is helping to create a network of community development financial institutions in distressed areas across the United States. In FY99, funding was increased 19 percent to $95 million from $80 million. The FY 2000 budget proposes to expand funding for the CDFI Fund to $125 million--a $30 million increase from 1999.
Working on Behalf of Minority Farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to strengthen programs and increase outreach targeted to underserved communities, including increasing its lending to minority and women producers. Between 1993 and 1998, direct lending to these groups has nearly doubled -- from $46.5 million in FY93 to $91 million in FY98.
Moving from Welfare to Work. With the President' s leadership, the Balanced Budget included $3 billion to move long-term welfare recipients and unemployed non-custodial fathers into jobs and provided tax credits for employers to hire and retain long-term welfare recipients. The FY 1999 Welfare-to-Work competitive grants will support innovative strategies to address specific challenges to employment including limited English proficiency. The President' s budget seeks $1 billion to extend the Welfare-to-Work program to help more long-term recipients and low income fathers in high poverty areas go to work and support their families.
Helping People Get to Work. The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century authorizes $750 million over five years, and the FY99 budget included $75 million, for the President' s Access to Jobs initiative and reverse commute grants to help communities design innovative transportation solutions so that families who need to work can get to work. The President' s Budget proposes to double funding for FY 2000, bringing the program to the authorized level of $150 million.
Assisting Families with Housing Vouchers. In 1999, the President proposed and Congress approved $283 million for 50,000 new housing vouchers for welfare recipients who need housing assistance to get or keep a job. Families will use these welfare-to-work housing vouchers to move closer to a new job, to reduce a long commute, or to secure more stable housing that will eliminate emergencies which keep them from getting to work every day on time. The President' s FY 2000 Budget provides $430 million for 75,000 welfare-to-work housing vouchers, including $144 million in new funds for 25,000 additional vouchers.
Providing Incentives to Save. The President signed into law a five-year, $125 million demonstration program for Individual Development Accounts, providing incentives for low income families to save for a first home, higher education or to start a new business, effectively completing his 1992 community empowerment agenda. The FY99 budget includes $10 million to launch this initiative, and the President has proposed to double the commitment to $20 million in FY 2000.
Increasing Homeownership. The Clinton Administration launched a program to increase the homeownership rate of Hispanics in the U.S. through advertising, education and counseling programs and working with lending institutions to better serve the Hispanic community. Progress has been made, four million Hispanics now own their homes, one million more Hispanic homeowners since the first quarter of 1994.
Helping More Families Become Homeowners with the “Play-by-the-Rules” Homeownership Initiative. The FY99 budget included $25 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation to start this new initiative that will make homeownership more accessible to families who have a good rental history but have difficulty purchasing a home; 10,000 lower-income and minority families who are currently renting will benefit from this initiative. The FY 2000 budget proposes a second round of $15 million for this initiative.
Expanding Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 40 Percent. In 1993, President Clinton fulfilled his promise to permanently extend the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, spurring the private development of low-income housing and helping to build 75,000-90,000 housing units each year. President Clinton has proposed to expand the credit by 40 percent. Over the next five years, this expansion would mean an additional 150,000 to 180,000 quality affordable rental units.
Fighting for Equal Opportunity
Building One America. The President has led the nation in an effort to become One America in the 21st Century: a place where we respect others' differences and, at the same time, embrace the common values that unite us. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson served on the Advisory Board to the President' s Initiative on Race, which the President charged with overseeing this effort. The President, the Administration and the Advisory Board were actively involved in public outreach efforts -- including holding numerous public meetings and town halls -- to engage Americans across the nation in this historic effort. One of the critical elements of the President' s Initiative on Race was identifying, highlighting and sharing with the nation promising practices -- local and national efforts to promote racial reconciliation. The Advisory Board presented their final report to the President on September 18, 1998, and recommended that conversations on race continue. President Clinton also appointed Robert B. (Ben) Johnson as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office on the President' s Initiative for One America, a new office the President created to follow up on the work of his Initiative on Race.
An Administration That Looks like One America. The President appointed the most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and Small Business Administrator Aida Alvarez are members of the President' s Cabinet. Federico Peña and Henry Cisneros previously served in the President' s Cabinet.
Judicial Appointments. Six percent of all President Clinton' s judicial appointments are Hispanics including the Honorable Jose Cabranes, Judge, Second Circuit U.S. Circuit Court, The Honorable Carlos Moreno, Judge, Central District of California, U.S. District Court and the Honorable Hilda Tagle, Judge, Southern District of Texas, U.S. District Court.
Senior Level Administration Appointments. President Clinton has appointed more Hispanics to senior level positions than any President in American history. Eight percent of Presidential appointments, including boards and commissions, are held by Hispanics. These Presidential appointees include Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President George Muñoz; Norma Cantu, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education; Saul Ramirez, Jr., Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary; Albert Jacquez, Administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Department of Transportation; Eluid Levi Martinez, Commissioner of Bureau of Reclamation at the Department of Interior; Ida L. Castro, Chair, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Patricia T. Montoya, Commissioner for Children, Youth & Families at the Department of Health and Human Services; and John U. Sepulveda, Deputy Director at the Office of Personnel Management. White House appointees include: Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff Maria Echaveste; Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Mickey Ibarra; and Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for Legislative Affairs Janet Murguia.
Opposed California Prop. 209 and Similar Measures. The Clinton Administration strongly opposes state and local initiatives to eliminate affirmative action programs that expand opportunities for Hispanics and others. The Administration opposed Proposition 209 in California and filed amicus briefs opposing Prop. 209, which currently prohibits state affirmative action programs. The Clinton Administration opposed a similar initiative in Houston, which was defeated and opposed an initiative in Washington that is similar to Prop. 209. In all these cases, representatives of the administration have spoken out strongly against these initiatives as unfair and a barrier to equality.
Ordered an Assessment of Affirmative Action Programs. The President ordered a comprehensive review of the government' s affirmative action programs which concluded that affirmative action is still an effective and important tool to expand educational and economic opportunity to all Americans. This review of federal affirmative action programs has helped to ensure that these programs are fair and effective and that they can survive legal challenges. As a result, programs that benefit Hispanics, including students, working men and women, and business owners, remain in effect and are more likely to be upheld by the courts.
Reducing Backlog and Expanding Alternative Dispute Resolution at Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Thanks to President Clinton, the FY99 budget included $279 million -- a $37 million increase over the previous year -- to significantly expand EEOC's alternative dispute resolution program and reduce the backlog of private sector discrimination complaints. The final budget fully funds the President' s request -- providing the first real increase for EEOC in several years. The President' s FY2000 budget request provides $312 million for the EEOC, a 12 percent increase over 1999.
Working to Ensure Fairness and Remove Barriers to High Quality Education. The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education is working to eliminate discriminatory educational practices within schools that contribute to deficiencies in minority student achievement. These priorities included the inappropriate placement of minority students in special education, limited access of minority students to challenging curricula and programs such as gifted and honors classes and the lack of comparable resources.
Ensuring Election Fairness. The Clinton Administration defended racially fair redistricting plans against claims that they were unconstitutional and prevented election day discrimination against minority voters and voter intimidation and harassment by monitoring polling place activities in a record number of states and counties. Continued enforcement efforts to ensure that citizens who rely on Spanish have the same opportunities to participate in voting-related activities as English-speaking voters.
Oppose English-Only Legislation. Strongly opposed legislation to make English the official language of the United States which would have jeopardized services and programs for non-English speakers and jeopardized assistance to the tens of thousands of new immigrants and others seeking to learn English as adults.
Increasing Voter Registration. Since 1995, the National Voter Registration Act or “Motor Voter” law has registered nearly 28 million new voters and made voting easier for millions more. [FEC, 6/99; FEC, 6/97]
Opposed California Prop. 187. Opposed California's Proposition 187, which would have made illegal immigrants ineligible for public school education at all levels and ineligible for public health care services.
Working for Fair Housing. The President proposed and won a major expansion of HUD' s Fair Housing programs. The final budget expands HUD' s Fair Housing programs from $30 million in FY98 to $40 million in FY99. That 33-percent increase includes $7.5 million for a new audit-based enforcement initiative proposed by the Administration. The President' s FY 2000 budget proposes to increase HUD' s fair housing activities by another 17 percent.
Defended Fairness. The Clinton Administration has filed more cases between 1993 and 1997 to enforce fair housing laws than any other Administration (more than 500 cases). For instance, this Administration desegregated a Vidor, Texas, public housing complex and ordered a Mississippi bank to implement remedial lending plans for minority customers who were unfairly denied loans by the bank.
Eliminated Discriminatory “Redlining” Practices. The Clinton Administration negotiated agreements with health care agencies to eliminate discriminatory “redlining” practices denying home health care services based on residential location.
Working to Ensure a Fair, Accurate and Complete Census. The Clinton Administration is working to ensure that Census 2000 is the most accurate census possible using the best, most up-to-date scientific methods as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. According to the Census Bureau, the 1990 Census missed 8.4 million people and double-counted 4.4 million others. Nationally, 5 percent of Hispanics were not counted in the 1990 census. While missing or miscounting so many people is a problem, the fact that certain groups -- such as children, the poor, people of color, city dwellers and people who live in rural rental homes -- were missed more often than others made the undercount even more inaccurate. A fair and accurate Census is a fundamental part of a representative democracy and is the basis for providing equality under the law. The President is determined to have a fair and full count in 2000.
Fairness for Immigrants. The President worked with Congress to correct the most egregious impacts of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. As a result, almost a million people will be able to proceed with legalizing their immigration status under the former standards of immigration law and not the new, stricter and more burdensome standards enacted in 1996.
Strengthening the Naturalization Process. The President has made naturalization a top priority of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in order to continue fostering legal immigration while combating illegal immigration. For instance, over one million individuals were naturalized in 1996. The Administration continues to work to streamline and improve the naturalization process so that eligible individuals who have played by the rules can become full partners in America. In FY99, the Administration won an infusion of new resources to reduce the backlog of naturalization applications and improve customer service.
Defended Immigrant Rights. The Administration defeated legislative efforts which would have significantly eroded health care for immigrants. The bipartisan agreement strengthened the sponsorship requirement while preserving the basic ability of families to reunify.
Reversing Unfair Cuts; Protects Legal Immigrants Who Become Disabled and Those Currently Receiving Benefits. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 restored $11.5 billion in SSI and Medicaid benefits for legal immigrants whose benefits were also terminated in welfare reform. This law protects those immigrants now receiving assistance, ensuring that they will not be turned out of their apartments or nursing homes or otherwise left destitute. And for immigrants already here but not receiving benefits, the BBA does not change the rules retroactively. Immigrants in the country as of August 22, 1996, but not receiving benefits at that time who subsequently become disabled will also be fully eligible for SSI and Medicaid benefits. When the President signed the 1996 Welfare Reform Law, he pledged to go back and change provisions that have nothing to do with welfare reform, such as the cutting off benefits to legal immigrants. Critics said the changes would never be made. However, in 1997 and again in 1998, the President followed through on his pledge -- and won many of the changes he sought in the 1996 law. The President' s FY 2000 Budget would restore eligibility for SSI and Medicaid to legal immigrants who enter the country after that date if they have been in the United States for five years and become disabled after entering the United States. This proposal would cost approximately $930 million and assist an estimated 54,000 legal immigrants by 2004, about half of whom would be elderly.
Assuring Families Access to Health Care and Other Benefits. In May 1999, the Vice President announced new actions to assure families that enrolling in Medicaid or the new Children' s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and receiving other critical benefits, such as school lunch and child care services, will not affect their immigration status. The new Department of Justice regulation clarifies a widespread misconception that has deterred eligible populations from enrolling in these programs and undermined the nation' s public health. In addition, the Vice President directed Federal agencies to send guidance to their field offices, program grantees and to work with community organizations to educate Americans about this new policy.
Made the Largest Investment in Education in 30 Years. Maintaining his longtime commitment to education, the President enacted the largest investment in education in 30 years -- and the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill.
Modernizing Our Schools. The President has proposed federal tax credits to help rebuild, modernize, and build 6,000 public schools nationwide. Much of this funding is targeted to the cities with the highest numbers of low-income children.
Reducing Class Size. Last year, the President won a down payment on his initiative to reduce class size to a national average of 18 students in grades 1-3 to help local schools hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers. Research shows that students do better academically in smaller classes, especially minority and low-income students. The President's proposal targets substantial funding to the communities that need it most, and he has threatened to veto legislation that would replace that class size initiative with a block grant that doesn't guarantee the continuation of a nationwide class size initiative and denies adequate funding to the communities that need it most.
Supporting Reading Excellence. More than 1000 colleges have committed work-study students to tutor children in reading, and thousands of AmeriCorps members and senior volunteers are organizing volunteer reading campaigns. In addition, the President won $260 million for a new child literacy initiative, consistent with the President' s America Reads proposal in the FY99 budget. The FY2000 budget includes funding to continue the Clinton-Gore Administration Reading Excellence Program -- helping train reading tutors and coordinating after-school, weekend, and summer reading programs linked to in-school instruction; helping train teachers to teach reading; and helping parents help children prepare to learn to read.
Greater Access to Education Technology. The President has made an unprecedented commitment to bringing technology into schools. In the FY99 budget, President Clinton won $75 million to fund technology training for teachers and $10 million for new grants to public-private partnerships in low-income communities to provide residents access to computer facilities for educational and employment purposes. Education technology has always been a top priority for the President and Vice President; since 1993, they have created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund and increased overall investments in educational technology by thirty-fold, from $23 million to $698 million this year. The Administration has also secured low-cost connections (the E-rate) to the Internet for schools and libraries.
Getting Good Teachers to Underserved Areas. The FY99 budget contained $75 million for new teacher quality initiatives -- programs that will help recruit and prepare thousands of teachers to teach in high-poverty urban and rural communities and will strengthen teacher preparation programs across the country.
Strengthening Educational Accountability and Excellence. 11 million low-income students now benefit from extra support to meet high expectations and challenging standards because of increased funding for the Title I program and reforms proposed and signed into law by President Clinton in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This year, President Clinton has proposed building on this progress with further strengthening accountability in these federal programs, improving teacher quality, increasing school safety, expanding public school choice, and providing extra support through summer-school, after-school and other programs to help students master the basics and reach challenging academic standards. The reauthorization will also support teacher education programs that develop the ability of regular classroom teachers to teach limited English proficient (LEP) students.
Enacted a Hispanic Education Action Plan. The Hispanic dropout rate is unacceptably high, and is substantially higher for Hispanics than African-Americans and White non-Hispanics. The Administration is reaching out to Hispanic youth, encouraging them to stay in school, do well academically and graduate from high school, and go on to college so that they can compete successfully for good jobs and take advantage of promising career opportunities. As part of these efforts, the Clinton Administration put forth and won funding increases for a Hispanic Education Action Plan in the FY99 budget. As part of this plan, the President and Vice President proposed significant increases in a number of programs that enhance educational opportunity for Hispanic Americans. The final budget included increases of $494 million for these programs, including an increase of $70 million for TRIO college preparation programs over FY98, which will now provide support services to over 700,000 students, and an additional $50 million for Bilingual Education Professional Development -- double the FY98 level -- to begin to provide 20,000 teachers over five years with the training they need to teach Limited English Proficient students effectively. Moreover, funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), colleges and universities with at least 25 percent Hispanic enrollments was more than doubled from $12 million to $28 million in FY 99. In FY 2000, the President has proposed over a $650 million increase in funds for Department of Education programs that are part of the Administration' s Hispanic Education Agenda.
Expanding College Opportunity with Tuition Tax Credits, Education IRAs, and Largest Increase in Pell Grants in 20 Years. The President is making the first two years of college universally available with $1500 HOPE Scholarship tax credits and a 20 percent lifetime learning tax credit helps offset tuition costs for college or lifetime learning. The expanded education IRA allows penalty- and tax-free withdrawals for education. And in 1999, nearly four million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,125, the largest maximum award ever. In the 1995-96 school year, 54 percent of all Hispanic students enrolled full-time in college received a Pell Grant.
Established a Hispanic Advisory Commission. In 1994, the President issued an Executive Order on Educational Excellence for Hispanics which established an advisory commission to oversee the improvement in education for Hispanics and would work to ensure that Hispanic-Serving Institutions will have more input regarding educational goals and issues of concern to Hispanics. The Commission' s report identified contributing factors impacting attainment of educational excellence, corrective policy actions, and plans for program development and funding.
Implemented the Student Diversity Partnership Program. Partnered with Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education to implement the Student Diversity Partnership Program. This program will ensure an adequate supply of diverse and qualified scientists and engineers for the 21st century. In addition, the White House recently awarded Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring Grants to both individual mentors and institutions that foster mentoring, helping to ensure that America' s future scientists and engineers come from all of the nation' s racial and cultural segments of the population.
AmeriCorps College Support. Since 1993, more than 100,000 people have had the opportunity to serve through AmeriCorps, with Hispanics comprising 13 percent of all participants (1996 data) In 1999, nearly 50,000 young people will take advantage of the opportunity to serve and will earn an award of up to $4,725 to pay for college or repay student loans.
Establishing the GEAR-UP. In FY99, the President won $120 million to create a new initiative which would promote partnerships between schools and institutions of higher education to provide about 100,000 low-income middle and high school students with academic and support services to help them prepare for and enter college. The President is proposing to double this initiative this year.
Expanding Investments In Youth Education And Training. While House Republicans attempted to eliminate the successful Summer Jobs program in FY99, President Clinton prevailed with his request for $871 million in funding, which will finance up to 530,000 summer jobs for disadvantaged youth. The Youth Opportunity Area Initiative program provides high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 with academic and job-skills training, as well as apprenticeships building and rehabilitating affordable housing. The President proposed and won $250 million for this new innovative program in the FY99 budget.
Teaching Job Skills and Building Homes Through “Youthbuild.” Through the Youthbuild program, nearly 2,300 high school dropouts have developed valuable job skills while building or renovating homes for hundreds of low-income families. This program offers young adults, ranging in age from 16 to 24, the opportunity to gain leadership skills, earn a high school diploma or GED, learn a valuable trade, and provide much-needed housing to families nationwide. More than $170 million in grants have been made under Youthbuild since its inception in 1993, enabling over 7,800 young people to take part in building or rehabilitating more than 3,650 houses and apartments units in their communities. Of the 7,800 served by Youthbuild, an estimated 1,170 are Hispanic youth.
Strengthening Bilingual and Immigrant Education. The President is committed to ensuring that students with limited English skills get the extra help they need in order to learn English and meet the same high standards expected for all students. The Clinton administration fought for and won a 35% increase in bilingual and immigrant education in the 1997 budget deal. For FY99, the Administration fought for and won a doubling of the investments in bilingual teacher training as part of its Hispanic Education Action Plan. Bilingual education funding helps school districts teach English to more than a million limited English proficient (LEP) children and helps LEP students to achieve to the same high standards as all other students. It also provides teachers with the training they need to teach limited English proficient students. The Immigrant Education program helps more than a thousand school districts provide supplemental instructional services to more than 800,000 recent immigrant students. In his proposal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the President has proposed additional help to ensure that all teachers are well-trained to meet the needs of students with Limited English Proficiency. His proposal would also make schools and districts more accountable for helping children with Limited English Proficiency master their academic subjects and learn English.
Extra Help for Limited-English Proficient Children. In 1994, President Clinton reformed Title I -- the major elementary and secondary program for disadvantaged children -- clearing away barriers that had prevented limited-English proficient children from getting help. Now Hispanics are 32% of the children served in Title I, the largest share of all communities. The FY99 budget provides a $301 million boost to the Title I program.
More Assistance for Migrant Children and Families. Migrant families face particularly difficult obstacles to gaining the education and training they would need to improve their standard of living. President Clinton improved the Migrant Education Program in the 1994 reauthorization, and won a 16 percent increase in FY99. As part of his Hispanic Education Action Plan, he also won increases for the High School Equivalency Program, the, College Assistance Migrant Program, as well as funding for a Migrant Youth Job Training Demonstration.
Expanding Access to English Language/Civics Education. The President' s FY 2000 budget supports a $190 million increase for adult education and family literacy, including a $70 million investment for the English Language and Civics Education Initiative: Common Ground Partnerships. This initiative will help states and communities provide limited English proficient adults with expanded access to high quality English as a Second Language programs linked to civics and life skills instruction on understanding and navigating our government system, the public education system, workplace, and other key institutions in American life.
Reducing the Drop-Out Rate Through Right Track Partnerships. The President' s FY 2000 budget provides $100 million for "Right Track Partnerships" to promote partnerships between schools, employers, and community-based organizations that devise innovative community-wide approaches to increase the rate at which economically disadvantaged and limited-English proficient youth complete and excel in high school and subsequently increase the rate at which these youth go on to post-secondary education, training, and higher paying careers. This new proposal builds on last year' s Hispanic Education Action Plan, which received nearly $500 million for FY1999.
Children and Families
Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. In 1998, President Clinton announced an initiative to end racial and ethnic health disparities. The effort sets a national goal of eliminating the longstanding disparities by the year 2010 in six key health areas: infant mortality, diabetes, cancer screening and management, heart disease, AIDS and immunizations. There are major health disparities among Hispanics. Latinos are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes than non-Latinos and Latinos have two to three times the rate of stomach cancer as white Americans. The President announced a five-step plan -- led by Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. David Satcher -- to mobilize the resources and expertise of the federal government, the private sector, and local communities. In the FY99 budget, Congress took a critical first step in investing in the President' s multi-year proposal. The President' s FY 2000 budget has proposed $145 million to continue this program' s activities.
Addressing HIV/AIDS in Communities of Color. Racial and ethnic communities make up the fastest growing portion of HIV/AIDS cases (more than 50 percent of all new HIV cases). As part of the FY99 budget, the Clinton Administration fought for and won a comprehensive new initiative that invests an unprecedented $156 million to improve prevention efforts in high-risk communities and expand access to cutting-edge HIV therapies and other treatment needed for HIV/AIDS.
Focused Health Efforts. Established the Office of the Minority Health Research and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Helped communities develop culturally-competent systems of care for children with serious emotional disturbances through the Comprehensive Mental Health Services for Children and Families program. Negotiated agreements with hospitals and nursing homes to eliminate barriers to equal access for minorities based on language.
Working to Enact a Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights for All Americans. President Clinton has called on the Congress to pass a strong, enforceable patients' bill of rights that assures Americans the quality health care they need. The bill should include important patient protections such as: assuring direct access to specialists; real emergency room protections; continuity of care provisions that protect patients from abrupt changes in treatment; a fair, timely, and independent appeals process for patient grievances; and enforcement provisions to make these rights real. Leading by example, the President directed all federal agencies to ensure that their employees and beneficiaries have the benefits and rights guaranteed under the President' s proposed Patients' Bill of Rights.
Protecting and Strengthening Medicare. The 1997 Balanced Budget Act extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund for at least a decade; expanded choices in health plans; and provided beneficiaries new preventive benefits. Today, Medicare provides health insurance to more than two million elderly and disabled Hispanics and six percent of all beneficiaries currently enrolled in Medicare are Hispanic. President Clinton is working to modernize and strengthen Medicare to prepare it for the challenges the program faces in the 21st Century. This historic initiative would make Medicare more competitive and efficient; modernize and reform Medicare' s benefits, including a long-overdue prescription drug benefit and cost-sharing protections for preventive benefits; and make an unprecedented long-term financing commitment to the program that would extend the life of the Medicare trust fund to 2027.
Extended Health Care to Millions of Children with the Children' s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Because of the President' s leadership, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act included $24 billion to provide real health care coverage to up to five million more children, the largest children' s health care budget increase since Medicaid was created in 1965. Minority children make up a disproportionate number of the over 10 million uninsured children. Hispanic children make up nearly 30 percent of all uninsured children. The Administration is actively reaching out to communities to target and enroll eligible, uninsured children in CHIP.
Providing Health Care to Children and Pregnant Women. Under current law, states have the option to provide health coverage to immigrant children and pregnant women who entered the country before August 22, 1996. The President' s FY 2000 Budget gives states the option to extend Medicaid or CHIP coverage to low-income legal immigrant children and Medicaid to pregnant women who entered the country after August 22, 1996. The proposal would cost $325 million and provide critical health insurance to approximately 55,000 children and 23,000 women by FY 2004. This proposal would reduce the number of high-risk pregnancies, ensure healthier children, and lower the cost of emergency Medicaid deliveries.
Protecting Families. Family and Medical Leave allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for seriously ill family members, new born or adoptive children, or their own serious health problems without fear of losing their jobs. About 91 million workers are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and millions of workers have already benefited from FMLA since its enactment.
Increased WIC -- $1 Billion Higher. Under President Clinton, participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has expanded by 1.7 million -- from 5.7 million in 1993 to 7.4 million women, infants, and children in 1998, with funding rising from $2.9 billion to $3.9 billion (FY99). Research shows that every $1 increase in the prenatal care portion of the WIC program cuts between $1.77 and $3.90 in medical expenses in the first 60 days following childbirth. In 1996, 30 percent of the infants who benefited from WIC were Hispanic.
Restoring Food Stamp Benefits for Legal Immigrants. The Agricultural Research Act of 1998 provided Food Stamps for 225,000 legal immigrant children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities who enter the United States by August 22, 1996. The President' s FY 2000 Budget would extend this provision by allowing legal immigrants in the United States on August 22, 1996 who subsequently reach age 65 to be eligible for Food Stamps at cost of $60 million, restoring benefits to about 20,000 elderly legal immigrants by 2004.
Expanded Head Start By More than 60 Percent. Since 1993, President Clinton has expanded Head Start by 57 percent, from $2.8 billion in FY93 to $4.4 billion in FY98. During the Clinton Administration, Hispanic enrollment has increased by 70,000 and at a rate nearly twice as fast as non-Hispanic enrollment. Despite these increases, Hispanic children remain under-represented in the program, and the Administration is stepping up efforts to ensure access and culturally appropriate services. Also, the President's FY 2000 budget includes $607 million in new funds to improve and expand Head Start, including a $23 million request for Migrant Head Start that would improve quality and reach as many as 2,000 new children.
Raised Immunization Rates to All Time High. Since 1993, childhood immunization rates have reached all-time highs, with 90 percent or more of America's toddlers receiving the most critical doses of vaccines for children by age 2. For the most critical childhood vaccines, vaccination levels are nearly the same for preschool children of all racial and ethnic groups, narrowing a gap that was estimated to be as wide as 26 percentage points a generation ago. But despite this program, as of 1997, 79 percent of white children had received the recommended series of vaccinations by age 2 compared to 72 percent of Hispanic children whom had been vaccinated against childhood disease. To help increase participation, on April 20, 1999, Secretary Shalala announced a new Spanish-language childhood immunization public awareness campaign, "Vacunelo A Tiempo Todo el Tiempo" (Vaccinate Your Children On time, Every Time), to create and distribute culturally relevant and language appropriate educational materials to help raise Hispanic immunization rates to the national average.
Proposed the Largest Single Investment in Child Care in the Nation' s History. In 1998, the President proposed an historic initiative to improve child care for America' s working families by helping families pay for child care, building the supply of good after-school programs, improving child care quality and promoting early learning. The President won $182 million to improve the quality of child care for America's working families in the FY99 budget.
Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for Nearly 400,000 Children Each Year. Approximately 400,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities have safe and educational after-school opportunities this year because of the expanded 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. Under the leadership of President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, funding for this initiative has increased from $1 million to $200 million in two years, and the administration has proposed tripling the program this year. In his FY 2000 budget, the President proposed to increase funding to serve approximately 1.1 million students.
Held the White House Conference on Hate Crimes. President Clinton hosted the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes, which examined laws and remedies that can make a difference in preventing hate crimes, highlighted solutions that are working in communities across the country, and continued the frank and open dialogue needed to build One America. The President announced significant law enforcement and prevention initiatives to get tough on hate crimes, including: support for legislation to expand the federal hate crimes law to cover crimes based on sexual orientation, gender, or disability; the creation of a network of local hate crime working groups; the addition of approximately 50 FBI agents and federal prosecutors to enforce hate crimes laws; improved collection of data on hate crimes; and the production of materials to educate the public -- especially youth -- about hate crimes. The President and Vice President continue to work to enact the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Enhanced Penalties for Hate Crimes. As part of the historic 1994 Crime Act, the President signed the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act which provides for longer sentences where the offense is determined to be a hate crime.
Falling Crime Rates. Overall crime rates are down to the lowest levels in a generation --and all incomes and races are benefitting. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Victimization Survey, property and violent crime victimization rates are at their lowest levels since 1973. Between 1993-1997, decreasing victimization trends were experienced about equally for all race, sex and income groups. In addition, the murder rate is down more than 25 percent since 1993, its lowest point in 30 years. Between 1997 and 1998, the Hispanic violent victimization rate fell from 43 to 33 victimizations per 1,000 Hispanics.
Putting 100,000 New Police on the Streets and Providing COPS Grants to Underserved Areas. This year, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Administration has met its commitment of funding 100,000 police officers for our communities. As a part of the COPS Program, the President announced new grants to increase police presence and community policing in underserved neighborhoods. Under this initiative, 18 cities will share $106 million to hire 620 new community policing officers. The pilot cities were selected following an analysis of crime, demographic and economic data.
Safe and Clean Environment
Environmental Justice and Redevelopment -- issued an Executive Order on Environmental Justice to ensure that low-income citizens and minorities do not suffer a disproportionate burden of industrial pollution. The Administration identified pilot projects to be undertaken across the country to redevelop contaminated sites in low-income communities, turn them into useable space, create jobs and enhance community development.
Accelerating Toxic Cleanups and Brownfields Redevelopment -- cleaned up nearly three times as many Superfund sites in six years as the previous administrations did in twelve. Leveraged nearly $1 billion in private sector investment for Brownfields redevelopment.
Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe -- proposed and signed legislation to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that our families have healthy, clean tap water. Required America' s 55,000 water utilities to provide regular reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water.
Reducing the Threat of Global Warming -- negotiated an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an environmentally strong and economically sound way. Secured $1 billion in FY99 for research incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
Preserving Our Lands -- protected or enhanced nearly 150 million acres of public and private lands, from the red rock canyons of Utah to the Florida Everglades. Reached agreements to protect Yellowstone from mining and save the ancient redwoods of California' s Headwaters Forest.
Democracy for Cuba. The Clinton Administration increased efforts to promote a peaceful, democratic transition in Cuba by keeping pressure on the Castro government for change while reaching out to the Cuban people. The President has strengthened the international consensus on the need to promote human rights and democracy. The Clinton Administration has authorized humanitarian measures to alleviate the Cuban people' s suffering, encouraged the emergence of civil society, and helped people prepare for a democratic future.
Support Our Closest Neighbors. The Administration took decisive action in assembling a financial support package for Mexico and later Brazil. In each case, the President's leadership prevented a prolonged financial crisis and its spread to other Latin American countries. In addition, the President traveled to Latin America and launched hemispheric negotiations for Free Trade Area of the Americas.