PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Supporting Native Americans
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 $79 billion, the largest budget surplus in history.
Saving Social Security First. President Clinton is committed to saving Social Security for the 21st Century. The President will fight to save every penny of any future surplus until a bipartisan plan to save Social Security is enacted.
Nearly 18 Million New Jobs. More than 90 percent of the new jobs have been created in the private sector, the highest percentage in 50 years.
Lowest Unemployment in Nearly Thirty Years -- down from 7.5% in 1992 to 4.3% today -- staying below 5% for 19 months in a row.
The Lowest Inflation in More than 30 Years. Since 1993, the inflation rate has averaged just 2.5 percent -- the lowest average inflation rate since the Kennedy Administration.
Strong Private Sector Growth. The private sector of the economy has grown 3.9 percent annually -- the fastest rate of private-sector growth since the Johnson Administration.
Fastest Real-Wage Growth In More Than Two Decades -- after adjusting for inflation, wages have increased 2.5% in the past 12 months -- the fastest real wage growth in more than two decades.
Tax Cuts for Working Families -- 15 million working families receive additional tax relief through the President's expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Largest Four-Year Drop in Child Poverty Since 1960s -- Under President Clinton, the child poverty rate has declined from 22.7% to 19.9% -- the biggest four-year drop in nearly 30 years. While this decrease marks significant progress, President Clinton will continue to fight for policies that help to raise incomes and reduce poverty.
Increased the Minimum Wage from $4.25 to $5.15 per hour -- increasing wages for 10 million workers. The President further proposed increasing the minimum wage to $6.15 an hour by the year 2000. Increasing the minimum wage by one dollar in two equal steps simply restores the real value of the minimum wage to what it was in 1981.
Three Times More Loans to Native American-Owned Small Businesses. Between FY93 and FY98 the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than 2,000 loans to Native American-owned small businesses under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. In FY1998 alone, the SBA granted 462 loans, worth $76.5 million, to Native American-owned small businesses, three times the number of loans granted in FY93.
Promoted Lending In Indian Country. President Clinton signed the Community Development Banking and Regulatory Improvement Act, which promotes more lending in Indian Country.
Provided Management and Technical Assistance To Native Americans. Established an Office of Native American Programs within the Minority Business Development Association at the Department of Commerce, with eight Native American Business Development Centers and a business consultant, that provides management and technical assistance to Native American businesses.
Expanding Access to Capital with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). The President has expanded access to capital through the creation of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which supports banks and other entities that specialize in lending and investing in under-served communities. The FY99 budget included a $15 million increase in CDFI funding (from $80 million to $95 million), a 19 percent increase. The President's proposed FY2000 budget increases CDFI funding to $125 million -- a $30 million increase.
Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. Spurring economic development in distressed communities, the Clinton Administration has created 31 Empowerment Zones and more than 100 Enterprise Communities that are creating new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. The FY99 budget included $60 million in flexible discretionary funding for the Round II Empowerment Zones and Rural Enterprise Communities. The FY2000 budget proposes mandatory funding for ten years: $150 million a year for the 15 Round II Urban EZs; $10 million a year for the five Round II Rural EZs; and $5 million a year for the twenty Round II Rural ECs. The Oglala Sioux Tribe was designated as one of the Round II EZs and the Metlakatla Indian, Four Corners, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribe, and Northwoods Niijii were designated as Round II Rural Enterprise Communities.
Welfare to Work. The Administration passed a $3 billion program to help long term welfare recipients find, get, and keep jobs. The FY 2000 budget includes a $1 billion, one-year extension.
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.
Providing Block Grants For Indian Housing. The FY99 budget provides $620 million in block grants for Indian housing, which will serve 552 tribes. The President's FY2000 budget also calls for $620 million in block grants.
President Clinton Met With Tribal Leaders. On April 29, 1994, President Clinton became the first President to invite the leaders of all federally recognized tribes to the White House. On this historic occasion, the President pledged that his Administration would work with Tribal leaders to establish a true government-to-government partnership.
Recognizing Native American Contributions to One America. The President appointed the most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history. President Clinton appointed 63 Native Americans to all levels of his Administration, including 11 to top positions requiring Senate confirmation and 30 to Presidential appointment positions. Native Americans serving in the Clinton Administration include: Raynell Morris, Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, The White House; Elizabeth Homer, Director of the Office of American Indian Trust, Department of the Interior; Joy Harjo, Member of the National Council on the Arts; Robert Loescher, Member of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission; Kevin Gover, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior; William Yellowtail, Regional Administrator of Region VIII, Environmental Protection Agency; John Echohawk, Member of the Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission; Sedelta Verble, Deputy Director of the Office of Communications, Department of Agriculture; Mike Anderson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior; Billy M. Burrage, Judge, U.S. District of Judges; Theodore Strong, Member of the Presidential Committee on Sustainable Development; Montie Deer, Chair - Designee of the National Indian Gaming Commission, Department of the Interior; and Gary Kimble, Commissioner of the Adminstration for Native Americans, Department of Health & Human Services.
Strengthening the Relationship Between the Federal Government and Tribal Nations. In 1994, President Clinton executed a Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies directing agencies to consult, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, with tribal governments prior to taking actions that affect federally recognized tribal governments. On May 14, 1998, he issued an Executive Order that strengthens and makes effective across Administrations the 1994 Government-to-Government Memorandum. This executive order serves to establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Indian tribal governments in the development of regulatory practices on federal matters that significantly or uniquely affect their communities, to reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates upon Indian tribal governments, and to streamline the application process for and increase the availability of waivers to Indian tribal governments.
Ensuring Tribal Sovereignty. President Clinton created the Office of Tribal Justice to promote government-to-government relations with Indian tribes and ensure aggressive representation of tribal sovereignty in the courts. He also created a permanent White House working group composed of all Executive Branch Departments to advance tribal sovereignty across the administration.
Protected Religious Freedom. President Clinton signed an executive order that requires federal agencies to accommodate access to and ceremonial use of Indian sacred sites by Indian religious practitioners and to avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sacred sites. He also successfully fought for passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in order to protect the right of free exercise of tribal religions. Finally, he directed federal agencies to ensure efficient collection and distribution of available eagle feathers and eagle parts to American Indians and Alaska Natives for traditional religious purposes.
Promoted Tribal Self-Determination. President Clinton supported passage and implementation of the Indian Self-Determination Act amendments, which gives tribal governments increased control of Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service resources spent within Indian Country. He also successfully fought attempts to penalize tribes for exercising their powers of self-governance, allow states to tax tribal governments on new trust lands, and permit direct taxation of tribal governments.
Resolving Disputed Indian Trust Fund Balances. The Administration is committed to resolving disputed Indian trust fund account balances through informal dispute resolution and supports the unique government-to-government relationship that exists in Indian trust land management issues. After tribal consultations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs submitted its "Recommendations of the Secretary of the Interior for Settlement of Disputed Tribal Accounts" to Congress in November 1997. Legislation reflecting these recommendations was proposed in 1998, but not enacted. It will be proposed again in the 106th Congress.
Reducing Backlog and Expanding Alternative Dispute Resolution at Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 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.
Conducting a Fair and Accurate Census. The Clinton Administration is working to ensure that Census 2000 is accurate, using the best, most up-to-date scientific methods. According to the Census Bureau, the 1990 Census missed 8.4 million people and double-counted 4.4 million others. Nationally, 12.2 percent of Native Americans living on a reservation 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.
Protecting Families. The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- the first piece of legislation the President signed into law -- enables workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a new baby or ailing family member, or attend to their own serious health needs, without jeopardizing their job. The Family and Medical Leave Act covers just over 89 million workers -- about 70 percent of the American labor force and millions of workers have already benefited from FMLA since its enactment. The FY 2000 budget proposes expanding FMLA to reach workers in firms with over 25 employees, expanding coverage to 10 million more workers. In addition, the budget proposes providing resources to the Department of Labor to research the impact this law has had on the American family, and how to make leave accessible and affordable for more of America's working families.
Increasing Funding to the Indian Health Service. The Indian Health Service saw an increase of $144 million over FY98. This increase will assist in providing much-needed quality health care to Indian communities. In his FY2000 budget, the President has proposed $2.4 billion, an increase for the Indian Health Service (IHS) of $170 million or 8 percent over the FY99 level.
Indian Health Service (IHS) Contract Support Costs. The FY99 House bill contained an objectionable provision that would allocate contract support costs (e.g., indirect costs) to tribes that have contracted and compacted their health systems on a proportional basis. The Native American community and IHS objected to this provision because some tribes would have received less funding than they received in FY98. The Administration opposed this, and ultimately the objectionable provision was removed entirely. For FY2000, the President's budget supports tribal self-determination by proposing a $35 million (+17%) increase for contract support costs, to cover the costs of existing tribal contracts and compacts.
Preventing Diabetes. The President worked with Congressional leaders to make $30 million available in each of 1998 - 2002 fiscal years (totaling $150 million over five years) to the Indian Health Service for diabetes prevention, research and treatment in our Native American communities. Native Americans are three times as likely as white Americans to have diabetes and are less likely to access treatment for it. This grant will bring public health services, schools and nutrition programs together to reach children and families living on reservations, and to provide them with the information and tools to prevent and manage diabetes.
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. 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. In addition, the President's FY2000 budget includes $145 million for health education, prevention, and treatment services for minority populations. Working with minority public health providers, advocates, and other consumer representatives, CDC will continue a $35 million demonstration program to enable selected communities to develop innovative and effective approaches to address these disparities.
Addressing HIV/AIDS in Minority Community with an Historic $157 Million Effort. Minority communities make up the fastest growing portion of the HIV/AIDS caseload (44 percent of all new HIV cases). In FY99, there will be an unprecedented $157 million investment that will improve prevention efforts in high-risk communities and expand access to cutting edge HIV therapies and other treatment needed for HIV/AIDS.
Fighting to Pass a Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. 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.
Protected and Strengthened Medicare. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund for at least a decade; expanded choices in health plans; and provided beneficiaries new preventive benefits. The President has also put forth a proposal that, if enacted, will provide greater access to health insurance for Americans ages 55 to 65, including an option to buy into Medicare.
Extended Health Care to Millions of Children with the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Because of the President's leadership, the Balanced Budget of 1997 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. The Administration is actively reaching out to communities to target and enroll eligible, uninsured children in CHIP.
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, approximately 70,000 children and over 25,000 infants who benefited from WIC were Native American.
Ensuring Safe Food for America's Families. Issued new standards to reduce and prevent contamination of meat, poultry and seafood; signed the Food Quality Protection Act with special safeguards for kids; issued new regulations that improve the safety of fruit and vegetable juices; and created a President's Council on Food Safety to develop a comprehensive food safety strategic plan for federal agencies.
Increasing Funding for Indian Head Start. Since 1993, President Clinton has expanded Head Start (which includes Indian Head Start) by 68 percent, from $2.8 billion in FY93 to $4.6 billion in FY99. Of the estimated 822,000 children that were enrolled in Head Start in 1998, 3.4 percent of the children were Native American. The final FY99 budget specified $130 million for Indian Head Start -- a $9 million increase over FY98. For FY2000, the President's budget provides $147 million for Indian Head Start -- a $17 million increase over FY99.
Strengthening Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-Funded Schools and Colleges Serving Tribes. The President's proposed FY2000 budget provides $542 million for the operation of elementary and secondary schools, tribally controlled community colleges, and assistance to Indian children attending public schools. This represents an increase of $35 million from FY99.
Reducing Class Size in BIA-Funded Schools. In the FY99 budget, the President won a down payment ($1.2 billion) on his initiative to reduce class size to a national average of 18 students in grades 1-3, by helping local schools hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers. Research shows that reducing class size to 15-18 students in the early grades improves student achievement, particularly among low-income and minority students in inner cities. Included in the $1.2 billion for the first year of the initiative is $6 million for the BIA-funded schools. In his FY2000 budget, the President has called for $7 million to go toward BIA-funded schools.
Repairing and Modernizing Schools on Reservations. The FY99 budget provides $60 million to replace older, unsafe, and dilapidated schools on reservations in accordance with a Congressionally-approved priority list of replacement schools and would provide for much-needed health and safety-related repairs and improvements that together comprise a roughly $700 million backlog. In his FY2000 budget, the President has proposed $108 million, an 80 percent increase over the FY99 enacted level, to replace and repair some of the 185 BIA-funded schools on reservations.
Increased Funding for Indian Education. President Clinton won a 10 percent increase (from $60 million to $66 million) for the Indian Education program in the Department of Education in his FY 1999 budget. Serving nearly half a million Native American students, the Act's programs include grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), Indian tribes and organizations, Indian-controlled schools, and individuals to address the unique educational and cultural academic needs of Native Americans.
Recognizing Tribal Colleges. President Clinton signed an executive order that aims to ensure that tribal colleges and universities are more fully recognized as accredited institutions, have access to the opportunities afforded other institutions, and have federal resources committed to them on a continuing basis.
Supporting AmeriCorps. Since 1993, more than 100,000 people have had the opportunity to serve through AmeriCorps. This includes hundreds of Native Americans who have had the chance to participate. In 1998 alone, nearly 50,000 young people had the opportunity to serve and earn an award of up to $4,725 to pay for college or repay student loans. The FY 2000 budget includes funding to engage 69,000 Americans in community service with a goal of 100,000 AmeriCorps participants in 2002.
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 Workforce Investment Act consolidated the Summer Jobs and the year round youth programs into one Youth Activities formula grant. The FY 2000 budget includes $1 billion for youth activities, equivalent to the amount provided for these programs in FY 1999.
Youth Opportunity Grants (YOG). YOG 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. The FY 2000 budget continues funding for YOG at the 1999 level of $250 million.
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 to help offset tuition costs. 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, 51 percent of all Native American students enrolled full-time in college received a Pell Grant.
Teaching Every Child to Read by the 3rd Grade. 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 the FY99 budget, the President won $260 million for a new child literacy initiative, consistent with the President's America Reads proposal.
Increasing 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, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals. The President's FY2000 budget proposes a $103 million increase in funding over FY99 to ensure that every child has access to computers, the Internet, high-quality educational software, and teachers that can use technology in the classroom.
Striving for Excellence. Thanks to President Clinton's leadership, the Title I program is helping millions of disadvantaged students reach high academic standards by giving them extra help with basic and advanced skills. The FY2000 budget requests nearly $8 billion for Title I, a $320 million increase over FY99. This funding will support educational services for more than 12 million disadvantaged students, over 500,000 more than last year. Over 182,000 Indian students will be served by Title I in FY99.
Establishing the GEAR-UP Initiative to Help Up to 380,000 Students Prepare for College. The President won $120 million in FY99 to create a new mentoring initiative to help low income middle and high school children prepare for college. GEAR-UP (a program that incorporates the President's "High Hopes" proposal) will expand mentoring and scholarship efforts by states, and provide new grants to partnerships of middle schools, institutions of higher education, and community organizations, to provide intensive early intervention services to help prepare students at high-poverty middle schools for college. President Clinton's FY2000 budget doubles funding -- from $120 million in FY99 to $240 million -- for the GEAR UP program. This would increase the number of participating students from 177,000 in FY99 to 381,000 in FY 2000.
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.
Improved Law Enforcement in Indian Country. The final FY99 budget bill includes a $109 million increase -- for the Departments of Justice and Interior -- for the President's Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative. The initiative will improve public safety for the 1.4 million residents on the approximately 56 million acres of Indian lands. This funding will increase the number of law enforcement officers on Indian lands, provide more equipment, expand detention facilities, enhance juvenile crime prevention, and improve the effectiveness of tribal courts. Although violent crime has been declining nationally for several years, it has been on the rise in Indian Country. At the same time, police service on Indian lands has been steadily shrinking. Recognizing these facts, the President made a major commitment to improve law enforcement in Indian country. The President's FY2000 budget includes $164 million, a 50 percent increase over FY99, for the Departments of Justice and Interior for the second year of the President's Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative.
Hiring More Police Through COPS Program. The FY99 budget provided $35 million for hiring police officers through the COPS program exclusively in Indian Country.
Protecting Tribal Natural Resources. President Clinton established the American Indian Environmental Office to work with tribes to protect water quality and the environment in Indian Country. Other tribal environmental achievements include:
· Established for the first time the right of Alaska Natives to fish for subsistence purposes.
· Requested more than $160 million (a 15 percent increase) in his FY99 budget for EPA support of tribal environmental protection programs on reservations. As a part of this program, EPA will continue to build and support tribal capacity to implement, operate, and enforce federal environmental laws.
· Supported the exercise of Northwest Tribes' treaty fishing rights.
Mitigating Environmental Impacts on Tribal Lands. In FY97, DOD entered into a new era in its relationship with Indian tribes through the development of Cooperative Agreements (CAs) with tribal governments to mitigate environmental impacts on Indian lands resulting from DOD activities. In addition, DOD demonstrated and validated several promising new technologies that target environmental problems caused by past DOD activities on Indian lands.
Promoting Environmental Justice and Redevelopment. President Clinton 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.
Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe. President Clinton proposed and signed legislation to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that our families have healthy, clean tap water. The Clinton Administration required America's 55,000 water utilities to provide regular reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water.
Clinton-Gore Accomplishments by Issue