Working on Behalf of Asian Pacific 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 at least $76 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. Since President Clinton took office, the economy has added 17.7 million new jobs -- 1.7 million more new jobs in 71 months than were created during the entire 96 months of the Reagan Administration (17.7 million under Clinton vs. 16.0 million under Reagan).
Unemployment Down To 4.3 Percent in December -- A 29-Year Low. In 1992, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. In December, the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent -- its lowest level in 29 years. For 1998 as a whole, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent -- its lowest level since 1969. The unemployment rate has been below 5 percent for 18 months in a row.
Inflation -- Lowest Since 1961. In the third quarter, the GDP price index rose 1.0 percent at an annual rate. Over the past year, inflation rose just 1.0 percent -- the smallest increase in 37 years.
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.
The Median Household Income for Asian Pacific Americans Increased 2.2 Percent in 1997. Income for the median, or typical, Asian Pacific American household rose $980 in 1997, from $44,269 in 1996 to $45,249 (adjusted for inflation). This is an increase of 2.2 percent over 1996.
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.
Minimum Wage Increased. Increased the Minimum Wage from $4.25 to $5.15 per hour --increasing wages for 10 million workers.
Asian Pacific American Poverty Down More than 8 Percent since 1993. The poverty rate of Asian Pacific Americans has declined from 15.3 percent in 1993 to 14.0 percent in 1997. While this marks significant progress, President Clinton will continue to fight for policies that help to raise incomes and reduce poverty.
Supporting Minority Business Communities and Increasing Access to Capital. Over the past five years, (FY93-97) the Small Business Administration (SBA) has backed more than 16,760 loans worth $5.2 billion in loans to Asian Pacific American businesses. From FY98 through FY 2000, the Administration expects to deliver another $4.7 billion in loans to Asian Pacific American-owned businesses. That means that during the eight years of the Clinton Administration, the SBA will have delivered almost $10 billion in loan capital to Asian Pacific American entrepreneurs. In FY 2000, SBA expects to back more that $1.6 billion in loans to Asian Pacific American businesses, almost triple the amount loaned in FY92. In the SBA's 8(a) Minority Enterprise Development Program, Asian Pacific Americans own 1,341 of the 6,100 participating businesses. Those firms received about $1.7 billion in federal contracts in FY97. Almost 19,000 Asian Pacific Americans received business counseling and training under SBA's Small Business Development Center program, and SBA's SCORE program counseled more than 9,000 Asian Pacific Americans last year.
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. 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 next round of Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.
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.
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.
Assisting Families with Housing Vouchers. Congress approved the President's full request for 50,000 new vouchers exclusively for people who need housing assistance to make the transition from welfare to work.
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.
Highest Homeownership Rate in History. There are more than 7 million new homeowners since the President took office.
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.
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.
Working on Behalf of Minority Farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) isworking 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.
International Business Affairs
Facing the Challenges of the Global Economy. The President's strategy of fiscal discipline, investment in our people, and open trade is working for America. For the U.S. economy to continue to prosper, the economies of the world need to rebound from their recent difficulties. The United States, along with other leading nations, are working together to intensify efforts to speed economic recovery in Asia.
Opening Markets Abroad: Trade Agreements Have Helped Expand American
Exports and Create American Jobs. Since President Clinton took office, the Administration has concluded 270 new trade agreements.
Created Three Major Global Trade Agreements In the World Trade Organization. In 1998, this Administration completed a "trifecta" of three major global trade agreements in the World Trade Organization: the Information Technology Agreement covering $500 billion in global trade and more than $100 billion in U.S. exports, the global telecommunications services agreement (which will create more than a million jobs in the next ten years) and the financial services accord (which covers 95 percent of the global financial services market). Together, these initiatives cover tradetotaling more than $1 trillion annually.
Eliminated Barriers To Open Trade In Asia Pacific Nations From Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. Secured commitments from Asia Pacific nations to eliminate barriers to open trade in the region by 2020 for developing countries and 2010 for industrialized countries. Over the next two years, a number of sectors will be identified for tariff reductions, including energy products and services, environmental technologies and services, natural resources, medical equipment, telecommunications, gems and jewelry.
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. Angela Oh 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.
Creating an Administration That Looks like One America. Appointed the most diverse Administration in history. The Clinton Administration has more than tripled the number of Asian Pacific American appointees as the previous Administration including Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Department of Justice; Nancy Ann-Min Deparle, Administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, Department of Health and Human Services; Robert Gee, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, Department of Energy; Paul Igasaki, Vice Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Rose Ochi, Director, Office of Community Relations, Department of Justice; Donna Tanoue, Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Jeanette Takamura, Assistant Secretary for Aging, Department of Health & Human Services; T.S. Chung, Director Advocacy Center, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce; Barbara Chow, Associate Director for Human Resources, Office of Management and Budget; Dr. Isi Siddiqui, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Department of Agriculture; Maria Haley, Member of the Board, Export-Import Bank of the U.S.; and Shirley Sagawa, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to the First Lady.
Increasing the Number of Judicial Appointments. Nominated more Asian Pacific Americans to the federal bench than any other Administration. Appointments include the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima, Judge, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court and District Court judges Denny Chin, Anthony Ishii, George King, and Susan Oki Mollway.
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 women and minorities, 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). 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.
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 Asian Pacific Americans 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 is currently opposing 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.
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 languages other than English have the same opportunities to participate in voting-related activities as English-speaking voters.
Increasing Voter Registration. During 1995 and 1996, the National Voter Registration Act or "Motor Voter" law registered nearly 14 million new voters and made voting easier for millions more. Notably, 1996 saw the highest percentage of voter registration since 1960. [FEC, 6/97]
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.
Working for Fair Housing. To respond to the increase in reported cases of serious fair housing violations, HUD will double the number of its civil rights enforcement actions by the year 2000. HUD has also committed $15 million to 67 fair housing centers around the country to assist in fightinghousing discrimination. In addition, 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.
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 and Accurate 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, 2.3 percent of Asians Pacific Americans 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.
Children and Families
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 without jeopardizing their job. Sixty-seven million Americans -- over half of all workers -- are covered by the FMLA and millions of workers have already benefited from FMLA since its enactment.
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. Currently, for example, Vietnamese women suffer from cervical cancer at nearly five times the rate of white women. 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.
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.
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 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 new proposal that 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 Plan (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, with Asian Pacific American children making up 15.8 percent of all 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, 3 percent of the infants who benefited from WIC were Asian Pacific American children.
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.
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. Of the estimated 830,000 children enrolled in Head Start in 1998, 3 percent are Asian Pacific American children. The Presidentproposed and won an increase of $313 million to Head Start in FY99, meaning Head Start funding will be 68-percent higher in 1999 than in 1993. The President is committed to meet his goal of enrolling one million children in Head Start.
Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for A Quarter of A Million Children Each Year. In the FY99 budget, the President and Vice President proposed and won $200 million for after-school programs, expanding the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to provide safe and educational after-school opportunities for up to 250,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities each year.
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 -- by signing the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.
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.
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 credits and a 20 percent 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, 33 percent of all Asian Pacific American students enrolled full-time in college received a Pell Grant.
Fostering Diversity. The White House 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.
Modernizing Our Schools. The President has proposed federal tax credits to help rebuild, modernize, and build over 5,000 public schools nationwide.
Reducing Class Size. In the FY99 budget, the President won a down payment 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 minorities, and low-income studentsin particular, benefit academically from smaller classes.
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.
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. In the 1994-95 school year, 3 percent of the children benefiting from the Title I program were Asian Pacific American students. The FY99 budget provides a $301 million boost to the Title I program.
Establishing the GEAR-UP: College Mentoring Initiative To Help Up to 100,000 Students Prepare for College. The President won $120 million to create a new mentoring initiative to help low income middle school children prepare for college. GEAR-UP (a program that incorporates the President's "High-Hopes" proposal) will expand mentoring 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 up to 100,000 students at high-poverty middle schools for college.
Helping to Assist Schools with More Foreign Language Programs; Opposing English Only. The Administration has restructured Foreign Language Assistance Programs to assist local schools in establishing programs in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The Clinton Administration strongly opposes 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.
Addressing Minority Needs. Hosted Asian Pacific American Education Forums to address the needs of Asian Pacific American students and their teachers.
AmeriCorps College Support. Since 1993, more than 100,000 people have had the opportunity to serve through AmeriCorps, with Asian Pacific Americans comprising 3 percent of all participants (1996 data). In 1998 alone, nearly 50,000 young people will take advantage of the opportunity to serve and earn an award of up to $4,725 to pay for college or repay student loans.
Protecting 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 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. Bilingual education funding helps school districts teach English and other academic subjects to more than a million limited English proficient children, as well as provide teachers with the training they need to do their jobs better. TheImmigrant Education program helps more than a thousand school districts provide supplemental instructional services to 875,000 recent immigrant students.
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, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals.
Opposed Gallegly Amendment. The Administration opposed the Gallegly Amendment which would have ended the guarantee of public education for all children. It would have shifted immigration enforcement from the borders and work sites to classrooms and made children susceptible to gangs and violence.
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.
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.
Won Passage of the Most Comprehensive Crime Bill Ever. In 1994, after more than six years of gridlock, a bipartisan majority in Congress passed the toughest, smartest Crime Bill in the nation'shistory. Among other provisions, the new law now provides: a targeted "Three-Strikes-and-You're-Out" provision to put career violent offenders behind bars for life; an expanded death penalty for drug kingpins, murderers of federal law enforcement officers and nearly 60 additional categories of violent felons; and funding for 100,000 more prison cells to help states ensure that violent offenders serve their full sentences.
Putting 100,000 New Police on the Streets and Providing COPS Grants to Underserved Areas. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Administration will meet its commitment of 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.
Championed and Signed the Violence Against Women Act. This law is the cornerstone of the President's efforts to fight domestic violence, bolstering local law enforcement, prosecution and victims' services to better address these crimes. The President created the Violence Against Women Office at the Department of Justice and won $283 million in FY99 budget to continue the Administration's efforts to combat gender-based crime.
Safe and Clean Environment
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.
Toughest New Air Quality Standards in a Generation. The Administration approved new clean air standards for smog and soot that will prevent up to 15,000 premature deaths a year and improve the lives of millions of Americans who suffer from respiratory illnesses.
Accelerating Toxic Cleanups and Brownfields Redevelopment. This Administration has cleaned up nearly three times as many Superfund sites in six years as the previous administrations did in twelve. Brownfields grants have leveraged nearly $1 billion in private sector investment for brownfields redevelopment.
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.
Reducing the Threat of Global Warming. The Administration negotiated an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an environmentally strong and economically sound way; andsecured $1 billion in FY99 for research incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
Committed to Preserving Our Land. The Clinton Administration has protected or enhanced nearly 150 million acres of public and private lands, from the red rock canyons of Utah to the Florida Everglades. And the Administration has reached agreements to protect Yellowstone from mining and save the ancient redwoods of California's Headwaters Forest.
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.
Restoring Food Stamp Benefits for Legal Immigrants. In June 1998, the President signed the Agricultural Research Act into law, which restores food stamp benefits to 250,000 elderly, disabled, and other needy legal immigrants, including 75,000 children, who lawfully resided in the U.S. as of August 22, 1996, and lost assistance as a result of cuts in the 1996 welfare law that had nothing to do with welfare reform. It restores benefits to Hmong immigrants from Laos who aided our country during the Vietnam War and extends the period during which refugees and asylees may qualify for Food Stamps while they await citizenship. This law funds a significant part of the President's 1999 budget proposal to restore food stamp benefits to 730,000 legal immigrants, but the President's budget proposal would go further by covering families with children regardless of the date they entered the U.S. This restoration builds on the President's success last year in restoring SSI and Medicaid to 420,000 legal immigrants whose benefits were also terminated in welfare reform (see below).
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 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.
Strengthening the Naturalization Process. The Administration made naturalization a top priority ofthe 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.
Deepening Cooperation with Japan. President Clinton signed new Defense Guidelines that will strengthen and deepen our most important security relationship in the Pacific.
Seeking Peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Administration is leading efforts to freeze North Korea's nuclear plutonium production capability and is seeking a permanent peace on the peninsula through deterrence, diplomacy and non-proliferation.
Renewed Bipartisan Consensus for Engagement with China. The Administration has renewed the bipartisan consensus for engagement with China to advance U.S. interests and draw the world's most populous nation more fully into the international community -- building a more constructive relationship through engagement and frank dialogue on human rights, religious freedom and Tibet.
Led International Efforts Against Terrorism. The Administration has led international efforts against terrorism, including signing domestic anti-terrorism legislation that ensures strong penalties for convicted terrorists and working with our allies to develop common approaches. The Clinton Administration is also addressing new threats to our infrastructure like cyberterrorism and biological and chemical weapons.
Secured Bipartisan Senate Ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Start II Treaty. The convention bans the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. Start II, together with Start I, will reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals two-thirds from their Cold War heights. In 1996, President Clinton became the first world leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.