PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Supporting Women and Families
EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES:
CARING FOR OUR CHILDREN:
- 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.
- Cutting Taxes for 15 Million Working Families by extending the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In 1997, the EITC lifted 4.3 million people, including 2.2 million children, out of poverty -- double the number of people lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993.
- Increasing the Minimum Wage from $4.25 to $5.15, giving six million women a raise.
- Narrowing the Wage Gap. In 1996, the median earnings of women working full-time increased 3 percent. In 1997, the median earnings of women represented 74 percent of the median earnings for men, the narrowest gap ever.
- Fighting for Paycheck Equity. Called on Congress to pass legislation to strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination.
- Highest Homeownership Rate in History. There are more than seven million new homeowners since the President took office. Womens homeownership has increased 14% with 1.9 million new women homeowners since the first quarter of 1994.
- 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.
- Increasing Pension Security. Fought for legislation that has expanded pension coverage, made pensions more secure for 40 million American workers and retirees, and simplified pension plan administration. Promoting new efforts to encourage retirement savings.
- 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. In 1999, nearly 60 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries will be women. Social Security will be the major source of retirement income for a majority of these women. President Clinton is committed to saving Social Security for the 21st Century and has urged that budget surpluses be reserved for a bipartisan plan to strengthen Social Security.
INVESTING IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
- Extending Health Care to Millions of Children with the Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This is the single largest investment in Health Care for children since 1965. The President fought to ensure that the 1997 Balanced Budget Act included $24 billion to provide real health care coverage to millions of uninsured children.
- Fought for and Won $500 Child Tax Credit for 26 Million Families with Over 40 Million Children under Age 17. Twelve million children from families with income below $30,000 will receive the child tax credit as a result of the Presidents efforts.
- Largest Four-Year Drop in Child Poverty Since 1960s. Under President Clinton, the child poverty rate has declined from 22.7 percent to 19.9 percent -- the biggest four-year drop in nearly 30 years (1965-1969). While this marks significant progress, President Clinton will continue to fight for policies that help to raise incomes and reduce poverty.
- Helping 7.4 Million Women and Children with WIC. In FY99, 7.4 million women, infants and children will receive health and food assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC), one million more than in 1994.
- Ensuring Safe Food for Americas 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 Presidents Council on Food Safety to develop a comprehensive food safety strategic plan for federal agencies.
- Held First-Ever White House Conference on Early Child Development and Learning and the White House Conference on Child Care. In April 1997, the President and First Lady held the White House Conference on Early Child Development and Learning to highlight the benefits of early nurturing by parents. And in October 1997, the White House Conference on Child Care began a dialogue on the child care challenges facing parents today -- availability, affordability, and assuring safety and quality.
- Proposed the Largest Single Investment in Child Care in the Nations History. In 1998, the President proposed an historic initiative to improve child care for Americas 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.
- Signed Landmark Adoption and Safe Families Act. This law will help thousands of children waiting in foster care move more quickly into safe and permanent homes.
- Signed the Comprehensive Childhood Immunization Initiative. Thanks to President Clinton, immunization rates among two-year-olds have reached historic highs.
- Took Steps to Ensure Children Have Safe Medications. Unveiled an FDA regulation that protects children by requiring manufacturers to study appropriate dosage levels of drugs for pediatric populations.
- Launched New Strategies to Reduce the High Rate of Teen Pregnancies. Teen (aged 15 to 19 years) births have fallen six years in a row, by 12 percent from 1991 to 1996.
- Increased Child Support Collections by 80%. Signed into law the toughest child support crackdown in history.
- Imposed Strict Measures to Keep Cigarettes out of the Hands of Our Children by restricting youth- targeted advertising; and the FDA made 18 the minimum age to purchase tobacco products nationwide, requiring photo I.D.s for anyone under the age of 27. And the President is fighting to enact comprehensive tobacco legislation.
IMPROVING OUR NATION'S HEALTH:
- 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.
- Providing Early Education to 835,000 Children with Head Start. More than 200,000 additional children are enrolled in Head Start today than in 1992.
- More High-Quality Teachers With Smaller Class Sizes. Won a down payment on the Presidents new initiative to hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers, helping school districts reduce class size in the early grades.
- 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. Won $260 million for a new child literacy initiative, consistent with the Presidents America Reads proposal.
- Striving for Excellence with National Education Standards. Seeking high national standards for all students, the President has proposed a first-ever national test in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math.
- Expanding Choice and Accountability in Public School. Supported increase of public charter schools, from one charter school in the nation in 1993 to more than 1,000 charter schools in 1998, on track toward 3,000 quality charter schools early next century.
- Establishing the GEAR-UP Mentoring Program for Middle School Children. Created a new mentoring initiative to help up to 100,000 low income middle school children prepare for college.
- Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for A Quarter of A Million Children Each Year. Expanded 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.
- Paying for College Through Community Service. AmeriCorps has allowed more than 100,000 young people to serve their communities while earning money for college or skills training.
- Fought for Passage of Education Tax Breaks to Promote Lifelong Learning. Representing the largest single increase in higher education since the G.I. Bill, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act included a $1,500 Hope Scholarship to make the first two years of college universally available, and a 20-percent tuition tax credit for college juniors, seniors, graduate students, and working Americans pursuing lifelong learning.
- Expanded Work Study. This year, nearly one million students will be able to work their way through college because of the Presidents expansion of the Work Study Program.
- Largest Maximum Pell Grant Award Ever. In 1997, President Clinton signed into law the largest one- year increase in Pell Grant scholarships in 20 years. In 1999, nearly four million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,125, the largest maximum award ever.
MAKING OUR HOMES AND COMMUNITIES SAFER:
- Protected and Strengthened Medicare, Benefiting the 22 Million American Women Enrolled in Medicare. Extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund for at least a decade; expanded choices in health plans; and provided beneficiaries new preventive benefits, including more affordable annual mammograms for all beneficiaries, cervical cancer screening, and tests to help detect osteoporosis. The President also put forth a proposal that will provide greater access to health insurance for Americans ages 55 to 65, including an option to buy into Medicare.
- Increased Funding for Breast Cancer Research. Since the President took office, funding for breast cancer research, prevention and treatment has doubled, from $283 million in FY93 to $550 million in FY98 (Health and Human Services' discretionary funding). In addition, the President has implemented the Mammography Quality Standards Act to ensure the quality of mammograms. Women can now find a certified mammography facility by calling 1-800-4-CANCER.
- Providing Protection with the Patients Bill of Rights. The President has called on Congress to pass Federally enforceable consumer health care protections that include: guaranteed access to needed health care specialists including direct access to an OB-GYN; access to emergency room services when and where the need arises; continuity of care protections to ensure that patients care will not abruptly change if their provider is dropped; access to a timely internal and independent external appeals process for consumers to resolve their differences with their health plans; a limit on financial incentives to doctors to limit care and assurances that doctors and patients can openly discuss treatment options. Women are particularly vulnerable without these health care protections because they are greater users of health care services, they make three-quarters of the health care decisions for their families, and they have specific health care needs that are directly addressed by a patients bill of rights.
- Preventing Discrimination Based on Genetic Information Both by Health Plans and Employers. The Administration has urged Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to prohibit health plans from inappropriately using genetic screening information to deny coverage, set premiums, or to distribute confidential information. The President also has supported legislation that ensures that employers do not use genetic information to discriminate against employees.
- Fought for Greater Health Security for Americas Families. The President signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which helps millions of Americans who move from one job to another, who are self-employed, or who have pre-existing medical conditions keep their health insurance.
- Endorsed Legislation That Would Ban Drive-thru Mastectomies, allowing women to stay in the hospital at least 48 hours following a mastectomy.
- Ended Drive-Thru Deliveries. Proposed and signed into law legislation requiring insurers to cover at least 48 hours of a post-natal hospital stay (72 hours for a Cesarean).
PROMOTING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES FOR WOMEN:
- Violent Crime at Lowest Level Since 1973. Violent crime fell 7 percent in 1997 and 21 percent since 1993. The murder rate is down more than 25 percent since 1993, its lowest point in 30 years.
- Putting 100,000 New Police on the Street. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Administration will meet its commitment of 100,000 police officers for our communities.
- Signed the Assault Weapons Ban, the Brady Bill and an Extension of Brady into Law. The Brady Law has already kept handguns away from more than 250,000 persons including felons, fugitives and other prohibited purchasers (including individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors or who are under restraining orders). The President signed into law the extension of the Brady Law, which prohibits anyone convicted of a domestic violence offense -- misdemeanor or felony -- from owning or possessing a firearm.
- Held the First-Ever White House Conference on School Safety. On October 15, 1998, the President hosted the White House Conference on School Safety. The participants explored solutions to this national challenge: How do schools, families and communities work together to make sure that every child is safe in every school in America.
- Signed Megans Law and the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act. Requiring states to set up sex offender registration systems and allows community notification when sex offenders move into neighborhoods.
- Championed and Signed the Violence Against Women Act, the cornerstone of the Presidents efforts to fight domestic violence, bolstering local law enforcement, prosecution and victims services to better address these crimes. Created the Violence Against Women Office at the Department of Justice. Won $283 million in FY99 budget to continue the Administrations efforts to combat gender-based crime.
- More than Quadrupled Funding to Domestic Violence Shelters and signed the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act of 1996 which makes it a Federal crime to cross state lines intending to injure or harass another person.
- Established Nationwide 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline. The hotline (1-800-797-SAFE) provides immediate crisis intervention, counseling and referrals for those in need. Since the hotline opened, there have been more than 230,000 calls -- averaging 8,000 calls a month -- from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
STRENGTHENING EQUAL EMPLOYMENT PROTECTIONS:
- Reversed the "Gag Rule" limiting the information federally funded family planning clinics could give to women.
- Increased Funding for Family Planning. The FY99 budget increased Title X Family Planning grants by $12 million -- a 24 percent increase since FY93. And in 1998, successfully defeated parental consent restrictions on contraceptives services for minors.
- Provided Contraceptive Coverage to More than a Million Women. The FY99 budget requires the 300 Federal Employees Health Benefits Plans (FEHBP) to cover contraceptive drugs and devices, providing coverage to approximately 1.2 million women of childbearing age.
- Protected FDAs Role in Testing RU-486. In 1993, reversed the ban on the importation of Mifepristone or RU-486. In 1998, successfully fought for removal of a provision that would prohibit the FDA from testing, developing or approving RU-486, thereby usurping the Agencys role in making scientific determinations about the effect of drugs on the safety and health of the American people.
- Signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, establishing a safety-zone around women's health clinics.
GENERATING MORE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN:
- Increasing Funding for the 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.
WOMEN AS PARTNERS IN DECISION MAKING:
- Women Are Starting Businesses at Twice the Rate of All Businesses. Women own nearly 40 percent of all firms in the United States. These eight million women-owned firms employ 18.5 million one in every five U.S. workers and contribute $2.3 trillion to the economy. The Small Business Administrations Office of Womens Business Ownership is working to foster this growth.
- Expanded Small Business Opportunities for Women. In the FY99 budget, doubled the funding for SBA Womens Business Centers which provides resources to foster increased entrepreneurship among women.
- Tripled the Number of Small Business Loans to Women Entrepreneurs. Between 1993 and 1997 the SBA approved nearly 50,000 loans to women entrepreneurs under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. In 1997 alone, the Small Business Administration granted more than 10,000 loans, worth $1.67 billion, to women small business owners, triple the number of loans granted in 1992.
- Appointed More Women than Any Other President -- 40 percent of Administration appointees are women.
- Women Hold 28 Percent of the Top Positions -- 28 percent of the positions requiring Senate confirmation (PAS) are held by women. Additionally,
- 34 percent of Presidential appointments, including boards and commissions, are held by women.
- 41 percent of non-career Senior Executive Service positions are held by women.
- 58 percent of Schedule C positions are held by women.
- Appointed the First Women Ever to Serve as Attorney General, Janet Reno, and Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Including the Attorney General and Secretary of State, women make up 32 percent of the Clinton Cabinet: Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor; Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Carol Browner, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Janet Yellen, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors; Janet LaChance, Director of Personnel Management; and Charlene Barshefsky, United States Trade Representative all serve in the Presidents Cabinet.
- 30 Percent of All of the Presidents Judicial Nominees Are Women.
- Nominated the Second Woman to Serve on the Supreme Court. During his first year in office, President Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the United States Supreme Court. Justice Ginsburg is only the second woman to serve on the nation's highest court.
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