THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Friday, October 16, 1998
FIGHTING FOR AMERICA'S FAMILIES
Today every American can take a great deal of pride in knowing that we are going to save Social Security; that we are going to have 100,000 teachers; that we are going to continue to move forward on the environment; and that now we are free to keep our economy going by meeting our responsibilities to deal with global economic challenges.
-- President Bill Clinton
President Clinton Stands With America's Families. Yesterday, President Clinton and the leadership in Congress agreed on a budget for the current fiscal year that reflects the President's priorities and is a victory for America's working families. The Pr esident fought for and won protection of the budget surplus until Social Security is reformed, a bipartisan agreement on funding the International Monetary Fund, and critical invstments in education and training. While the final budget agreement contained many of the President's legislative priorities, there is still work to do: Republicans did not support: school modernization, Patients' Bill of Rights legislation, comprehensive tobacco legislation, or child care investments.
Saving Social Security First. The President's commitment to save any budget surplus until Social Security was reformed for the 21st Century held the line against several Congressional attempts to drain the surplus.
Historic Investments In Education And Training. While House Republicans tried to dramatically reduce the education budget, President Clinton delivered on his education agenda:
- More High-Quality Teachers With Smaller Class Sizes. The President secured a commitment of $1.2 billion for the first year of his initiative to hire 100,000 new teachers to reduce class size in grades 1-3 to a national average of 18.
- After-School Programs. Additional funding to expand programs and serve 250,000 children;
- Child Literacy: Funding for a new literacy initiative consistent with the President's America Reads Challenge;
- College Mentoring For Middle School Children. Funding for a new mentoring initiative -- GEAR UP -- to help up to 100,000 low income middle school children prepare for college;
- Education Technology. A substantial increase in funding to ensure that every child has access to computers, the Internet, high-quality educational software, and teachers that can use technology in the classroom;
- Head Start. A substantial increase to fund the President's request of up to an additional 36,000 slots for children in Head Start;
- Charter Schools. The President secured funding to ensure that we stay on track toward 3,000 quality charter schools by early in the 21st Century;
- Summer Jobs. The President fought for and won funding to provide up to 530,000 young people summer jobs.
Investing In A Cleaner Environment. President Clinton fought for new investments to preserve and protect our environment: (1) a substantial increase in funding for the President's Clean Water Action Plan; (2) almost one-quarter more funding to protect endangered species; (3) a 26 percent increase in funding to fight global warming; (4) $325 million to preserve natural lands.
Responding To The Farm Crisis At Home And Financial Turmoil Abroad. The President fought for and won $6 billion in emergency assistance to America's farmers, ranchers, and secured full funding for the International Monetary Fund, reinforcing Am erica's commitment to helping countries out of financial peril.
Progress Has Been Made, But Challenges Remain. Although the President was able to win critical investments in important areas, work remains to be done, as Congress did not support other key priorities, including:
- School Modernization Tax Credits to help build and modernize 5,000 schools nationwide;
- Patients' Bill of Rights legislation to ensure that Americans receive the quality health care they need and deserve;
- Comprehensive Tobacco Legislation that would stop kids from smoking before they start and invest in public health prevention and education programs;
- A Child Care Initiative to make child care better, safer, and more affordable for America's working families.