C O N O M Y
Since 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have focused on following a growth policy based on three elements never before tried in combination: eliminating the deficit, opening markets, and investing in our own people.
Barring a national emergency, Vice President Gore feels we should balance our budget -- or better -- every year.
Second, he believes America must use good economic times to tackle tough, long-term economic problems, such as preparing for an aging society by saving Social Security and Medicare. He and President Clinton have proposed a bold plan to fix the entitlement problem in a way which will also dramatically lift America's national savings rate.
Third, the Vice President will continue the hard work of cutting regulations and reforming and reinventing government -- so that it costs less, works better, and keeps pace with todays fast- moving economies.
Fourth, the Vice President supports making strategic investments in human capital -- in particular, education and lifelong learning -- that are the heart of productivity, and give everyone a chance to share in our prosperity.
And lastly, the Vice President feels that America must remain engaged with the world. He has strongly advocated resisting narrow appeals to protectionism and isolationism. With 96 percent of the worlds consumers outside of United States borders, he feels that America must expand its exports, including free-flowing electronic commerce.
Vice President Gore has been working closely with President Clinton to fight for investments in education to make our elementary and secondary schools the finest in the world and expand access to college and lifelong learning. The Vice President has been fighting for investments to build and modernize more than 5,000 public schools nationwide, reduce class size by hiring well-prepared teachers, expand after-school and summer-school programs for more than one million children, link every classroom and library to the Internet and ensure that teachers have the training to make effective use of technology in the classroom, and provide financial support to helps students and their families pay for college and to help adults advance in their careers through skill development and learning throughout their lifetime.
Vice President Gore is championing the Administration's initiative to help communities hire and retain a strong police force and ensure that law enforcement agencies have the 21st century crime fighting tools and technologies necessary to prevent and fight crime effectively and efficiently.
The Vice President directs a joint task force between the Justice Department and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government to get crime mapping technology into the hands of law enforcement officials as a strategic tool to prevent and fight crime. In the FY 2000 budget, the President and Vice President requested $350 million to help state and local law enforcement agencies tap into new technologies that will allow them to fight crime more effectively: This will include wireless communications, videocams, software, and databases, as well as crime mapping and other technologies that will improve their ability to analyze, predict, and respond to local crime problems. Under President Clinton and Vice President' Gore's leadership, crime rates have fallen for six years in a row, homicide rates are at their lowest level in 30 years, and the overall crime rate is at a 27-year low.
The Vice President has worked closely with President Clinton on a wide range of initiatives to strengthen and improve health care, including:
A passionate defender of the environment for over 20 years, Vice President Gore works closely with the President to preserve natural resources, ensure public health, and fight threats to the environment such as global warming. His speech to treaty negotiators in Kyoto, Japan, was key to their reaching an international agreement on strong, binding action against climate change. The Administration's many environmental accomplishments include:
Preserving Americas Natural Treasures by creating an national monument to protect the redrock canyons of Utah, saving Yellowstone from a proposed gold mine, restoring the Florida Everglades, and proposing a $1 billion Lands Legacy initiative to protect other natural treasures and help states and communities preserve local green spaces.
Protecting Our Air and Water by adopting tough new controls on soot and smog, strengthening the Safe Drinking Water Act, expanding community right-to-know programs, and launching a comprehensive Clean Water Action Plan to help finish the job of cleaning America's rivers and lakes.
Building Livable Communities by launching a nationwide Livability Agenda to help communities across America grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life and strong, sustainable economic growth. Proposed $1.3 billion in new investments to help communities preserve green space, ease traffic congestion, and pursue regional smart growth strategies.
Cleaning Up Toxic Waste by completing nearly three times as many Superfund clean-ups in six years as were completed in the preceding twelve. Accelerated the cleanup process, so that 90 percent of the worst sites have had substantial cleanup work, and final cleanup decisions have been made for more than 80 percent of the approximately 1200 sites on the Superfund list.
Fighting Global Warming by negotiating an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, securing over $1 billion in fiscal year 1999 for research investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, and forging new partnerships with businesses to develop and promote energy-saving cars, homes and appliances.
The Vice President believes strongly that a healthy environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. He examines the environmental challenges confronting modern society, and outlines strategies for meeting them, in his national best-seller, EARTH IN THE BALANCE: Ecology and the Human Spirit.
Vice President Gore is a nationally recognized leader on technology. He championed the information superhighway, helping to popularize the term over 20 years ago. While he was in Congress he sat on the relevant science and technology committees and worked to bring about what has become the Internet. For instance in 1991, he was the author of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act. So it is no surprise that he continues his leadership role in these areas as Vice President.
He has understood that we can use these new technologies to unleash new economic opportunity through global electronic commerce. He led the effort to deregulate the telecommunications industry which led to the historic Telecommunications Act and a new tool that parents can use to control to ensure that television reflects their own family values -- the v-chip. He has led the effort to connect classrooms to the Internet by the year 2000. He has been in a leader in our commitment for a permanently manned space station, announced the next generation shuttle, and created the Globe program. And he has announced a new effort to develop a Next Generation Internet, and fought to make the Internet family friendly.
Today more Americans make computers than make cars. More Americans build semiconductors than construction machinery. More Americans spend their days processing data than refining petroleum. Because of the innovation of American industry, US productivity continues to increase dramatically and our companies are at the forefront of global competition. The Vice President announced a new effort to ensure that we can sustain the innovation that is now driving the economy well into the 21st century.
Education Technology for the 21st Century
In order for us to ensure that all our children may achieve the American dream, we need to empower them with the technological literacy they will need to succeed in a new and ever- changing information economy.
By 2000, 60% of the new jobs in America will require advanced technological skills. Unfortunately, only 20% of our workforce possesses these skills today. That is why the Vice President has made it a priority to connect every schoolchild in every classroom in America to the information superhighway by the end of this decade. Access to these cutting edge technologies puts the future at our children's fingertips. The Vice President has also announced new efforts to make sure that teachers have the skills they need to ensure that they can use technology as easily as they use the chalkboard today; new efforts to ensure that we don't have a digital divide that separates people who have access to information and those that don't; and efforts to ensure that children and teachers have access to learning software that is as engaging for children as the best video games.
The Vice President has been a leader in the effort to deregulate the telecommunications industry which led to the historic Telecommunications Act. The Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 will change forever the way every American lives, works, learns, and communicates. It will help ensure that all citizens benefit from the information superhighway. Not only will it create jobs, but it will help to connect every schoolchild in every classroom in America to the information superhighway by the end of this decade. This legislation will give families control over the programming that comes into their homes through television. Also, in the interest of promoting diversity of voices and viewpoints that are so important to our democracy, this legislation will prevent undue concentration in television and radio ownership. This Administration has promoted telecommunications reform that provides private investment, competition, universal service, open access and flexible regulation.
Television Ratings and the V-Chip
The Vice President has helped Launch a new era in television that will give parents unprecedented control over the information that comes into their homes and will provide children more choices among educational programs. Under the leadership of the President and the Vice President, the television industry agreed to a content-based voluntary ratings system that became effective October 1, 1997. The new ratings system will help parents identify which programs they want to block from their homes through a screening device known as the V-Chip. The President signed into law a requirement that the V-Chip technology be installed in half of all television sets beginning in July of 1999 and in all sets by January of 2000. The Vice President also launched and received recommendations from the Presidential Advisory Committee on Public Interest Obligations for Digital Television.
As Congressman, Senator and now as Vice President, Al Gore has been a leader in Space Exploration. His efforts to promote our exploration of the unknown and of earth is based upon the development and application of new cutting edge technologies aimed at answering the questions that have challenged mankind for centuries. From working on a permanent presence in space with the development of the International Space Station; to announcing the next generation shuttle; to our study of Earth through the Mission to Planet Earth program or to our exploration of Mars and other planets where life may have once existed; Vice President Gore is working to help realize the tools necessary to carry out NASA's mission. His efforts are broadening our understanding of both our past and our future.
Vice President Gore is championing the Administration's comprehensive Livability Agenda to help communities across America grow in ways that ensure a high quality of life and strong, sustainable economic growth. Livable communities are places where young and old can walk, bike, and play together; places where we not only protect historic old neighborhoods, but where farms, green spaces, and forests can add life and beauty to the newest of suburbs; places where we can work competitively, and still spend less time in traffic and more time with our children, spouses, and neighbors. The Clinton-Gore Livability Agenda aims to help citizens and communities:
Preserve green spaces that promote clean air and clean water, sustain wildlife, and provide families with places to walk, play and relax.
Ease traffic congestion by improving road planning, strengthening existing transportation systems, and expanding use of alternative transportation.
Restore a sense of community by fostering citizen and private sector involvement in local planning, including the placement of schools and other public facilities.
Promote collaboration among neighboring communities -- cities, suburbs or rural areas -- to develop regional growth strategies and address common issues like crime.
Enhance economic competitiveness by nurturing a high quality of life that attracts well-trained workers and cutting-edge industries.
Livable Communities initiatives recognize that communities know best and that each community should grow according to their own values.
At the request of President Clinton, Vice President Gore co-chairs five binational commissions, designed to strengthen the U.S. political and economic relationship with these strategically important nations.
President Clinton and Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin created the first binational commission, formally called the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, at the Vancouver Summit in April, 1993. The commission, originally co-chaired by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and now co-chaired by Prime Minister Yevgeniy Primakov, is designed to promote a stronger partnership between the United States and Russia based on a shared commitment to democracy and human rights, support for market economies and the rule of law, and international peace and stability.
The Commission is made up of ten committees and working groups in areas such as agribusiness; business development; capital markets; defense conversion; energy; environment; health; regional investment; science and technology; and space. The committees or working groups -- each co- chaired by senior U.S. and Russian officials -- work to identify and achieve clear, mutually beneficial objectives, and promote strong partnerships with private companies and non-government organizations.
Founded under the leadership of President Bill Clinton and President Nelson Mandela during the South African leader's State Visit to Washington in 1994, the U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission was inaugurated on March 1, 1995 with the goal of strengthening the bilateral relationship between the United States and South Africa.
The U.S.-South Africa BNC is committed to exploring areas for U.S.-South Africa cooperation based on shared values; identifying U.S. expertise which can assist South Africa in meeting its Reconstruction and Development Program goals; and expanding the involvement of both private investors and non-government organizations in strengthening U.S.- South Africa ties. The Commission is made up of committees on Agriculture; Conservation, Environment and Water; Defense; Human Resources Development and Education; Law Enforcement, Science and Technology; Sustainable Energy; and Trade and Investment. The Committees are co-chaired by senior government officials from the U.S. and South Africa.
President Clinton and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced the U.S.-Egyptian Partnership for Economic Growth and Development in September 1994. The commission operates through three principal working groups and their subcommittees: a Joint Committee for Economic Growth to conduct a government-to-government dialogue on economic policy; a Joint Science and Technology Board to implement agreements in these fields; and a Presidents' Council of senior private-sector executives to advise on ways of expanding economic growth and investment.
The U.S.-Kazakhstan Joint Commission is co-chaired by Vice President Gore and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan. The Commission was created to facilitate deeper cooperation between Kazakhstan and the United States on economic and foreign policy matters, including trade and investment, non-proliferation, environmental protection, science and technology programs, energy, and democracy. The site of the Commission sessions alternates between Kazakhstan and the United States. The inaugural session occurred in Almaty, Kazakhstan in November 1994.
Vice President Gore
and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma established the newest bilateral
commission in September 1996 to strengthen the partnership between
their two countries. President Kuchma and Vice President Gore meet annually
to direct the work of the commission, carried out by committees on foreign
policy, security, trade and investment, and sustainable economic cooperation.
As chairman of the Community Empowerment Board (CEB), Vice President Gore guides the Administration's Community Empowerment Agenda -- a broad range of initiatives designed to provide greater opportunity in distressed areas. These initiatives include: increasing and improving access to credit and capital, promoting small business creation and development, moving people from welfare to work, providing opportunities for out-of-school youth and support for children and families, increasing access to affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, enhancing crime prevention strategies, and cleaning up the environment by revitalizing abandoned, contaminated areas known as "Brown fields." They are designed to complement one another, empower communities and provide a more coordinated, sustainable response to address local problems.
As part of that agenda, the CEB oversees the Administration's Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) Initiative by coordinating the work of over 20 agencies who contribute to this effort. This initiative helps 134 designated communities implement their strategic plans which serve as a roadmap for transforming troubled neighborhoods into viable, sustainable places to live, work and raise a family. Under the EZ/EC Initiative, the federal government offers tools and resources including: flexible block grants, targeted tax incentives, and priority consideration for a variety of Federal funding programs. The EZ/EC Initiative and the Administration's other empowerment programs are helping to create jobs and bring hope to our nation's poorest areas.
Vice President Gore leads the Administration's efforts to reinvent government, making it work better, cost less, and get results that Americans care about. Under his leadership, the size of the federal workforce has been reduced by about 350,000 people, and common sense changes have been made in the way government works that have saved taxpayers $137 billion.
Recently, he has spearheaded the Administration's "Plain Language Initiative," requiring all public documents to be written in common sense, plain language.
Under the Vice President's National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR), our government is working to improve customer service for all in our nation:
For Communities: NPR's "Hassle Free Community Initiative" is building partnerships at the federal, state and local levels to improve delivery of government services where and when Americans need them.
For Federal Employees: NPR has conducted a federal employee satisfaction survey as a first step to enhancing the workforce and recruiting new talent.
For Businesses: Eliminated 16,000 pages of regulations, created new regulatory partnerships with companies, and established the "U.S. Business Advisor," which gives businesses one electronic stop to access all agencies that deal with business.
For Students: Created "Access America for Students," a one-stop website that provides students access to government services like student loans, summer jobs, filing taxes, and changing their mailing address.
For Seniors: Created "Access America for Seniors," a one-stop website that provides seniors access to key services such as such as Social Security and Medicare.
The Vice President believes that, for far too long, we have created programs designed to address the pathology of individuals, or the needs of the bureaucracy that serves them. He believes that, instead, we need to find ways that we can understand the needs of whole families and communities and build on their strengths.
Family Re-Union Conferences
The Family Re-Union initiative seeks to "reinvent" family policy so that it reflects the realities facing families and government. The Vice President and Mrs. Gore moderate annual Family Re-Union conferences to give policy makers at the federal, state, and local levels a chance to learn from the experience of families and those who work with them.
Each conference brings together 1,000 individuals on site and thousands more at remote satellite sites; in that way, it creates a national conversation on a topic of importance to families. Each conference results from a year-long planning process that brings together experts and academics in the field along with program leaders and individual family members. They engage in a dialogue with each other, the sponsors, and the Vice President, raising crucial programmatic and policy issues that become the core of the conference.
Perhaps the most significant
outcome of each conference is the ongoing partnerships created between
organizations and individuals in each field that have built momentum behind
new ways of addressing longstanding issues. Conference topics have included
strengthening the role of fathers in children's lives, the impact of the
media culture on children, the delicate balance between work and family,
family involvement in education, and family-centered health care.
Every three months, the Vice President convenes the Welfare-to-Work Coalition, which works with state and local agencies to identify welfare recipients making the transition to work and provides the support services that new workers need most to retain their jobs, such as mentoring, advice and support. The Coalition tailors available resources to each state and community by building on the strengths of its volunteer member organizations. Its goals include:
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