February 8, 1996

President Clinton today will sign the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress -- one of the nation's premier information centers and educational resources. The bill is a significant step towards achieving the President's objective, outlined in his State of the Union Address, to connect America's classrooms and libraries to the Internet by the year 2002. In his remarks, the President will also talk about another important challenge issued in his State of the Union -- the challenge to parents to take responsibility for their children's lives. He will emphasize the importance of the V-Chip or Violence Chip legislation, which allows parents to decide what programs are too violent or inappropriate for their children.

During the ceremony, President Clinton will use two historically significant pens to sign the legislation. The first is the pen President Eisenhower used to sign into law the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, legislation which was sponsored by Senator Albert Gore, Sr. The Highway Act, which created the nation's vast interstate highway system, is in many ways analogous to the Telecommunications Act which will help to develop the nation's information superhighway. The second is an electronic pen, which the President will use to sign the act into law on a digital tablet to be sent into cyberspace.

In addition, the Vice President will interact electronically with Washington, D.C. students who will demonstrate how they use technology in the classroom. The students from Calvin Coolidge High School will communicate with the Vice President over a high-speed fiber optic network.

The audience at the ceremony will include educators, industry executives, representative of various children's organizations, Members of Congress, Cabinet Secretaries, public interest group representatives, and various state and local officials.

The following is a program for the event: