President Clinton and Vice President Gore Are Fighting For Policies That Help Working Families, But Congressional Republicans Said No
Throughout 1998, President Clinton and Vice President Gore fought for policies that help working families in Maine, from more modern schools to higher quality health care. On each of these policies, the Republican Congressional majority said no to the families of Maine, blocking school modernization, a Patients Bill of Rights, comprehensive tobacco legislation, an increase in the minimum wage, and child care investments. In addition, Republicans in Congress killed our best hope for real campaign finance reform in a generation.
School Modernization: Congressional Republicans Blocked Tax Credits on $61.6 Million of Bonds To Help Build and Modernize Maine Schools. President Clintons school modernization initiative would have helped build and renovate more than 5,000 schools nationwide, without adding a single Federal employee. In Maine, this proposal would have provided tacredits on $61.6 million of bonds to help build or modernize an estimated 19 schools. However, the Republicans in Congress blocked school modernization and even claim stopping it as one of their top 10 victories in the final budget agreement. [Source: National Economic Council]
Patients Bill of Rights: The Congressional Republican Leadership Blocked Quality Health Care for 630,000 People -- Including 310,000 Women -- in Maine. President Clinton and Vice President Gore repeatedly urged the Congress to pass a strong, enforceable Patients Bill of Rights. Without this legislation, 630,000 people -- including 310,000 women -- in Maine are not ensured the enforceable patient protections they need, even if Maine has enacted health care quality legislation. The Congressional Republican leadership blocked a Patients Bill of Rights, which means accountants, instead of doctors, will continue to make health care decisions in Maine. Every major health care consumer and physician organization, including the American Medical Association, supports a strong, enforceable Patients Bill of Rights. [Source: Department of Labor]
Comprehensive Tobacco Legislation: The Congressional Republican Leadership Blocked Efforts That Would Have Saved 6,000 Young People in Maine from A Premature Death. President Clinton and Vice President Gore made passage of legislation to reduce youth smoking a top priority, in order to stop kids from smoking before they start. According to the Department of Treasury, in Maine, this legislation would have stopped 17,000 young people from smoking over the next five years, saving the lives of 6,000 young people in Maine from a premature death. But the Congressional Republican leadership killed this years effort to pass bipartisan comprehensive tobacco legislation to reduce youth smoking. [Source: Department of the Treasury]
Minimum Wage: Congressional Republicans Blocked A Raise For 44,000 Workers in Maine. President Clinton and Vice President Gore called for a one dollar increase in the minimum wage over two years -- to raise the wages of 12 million workers nationwide. In Maine, this increase would have raised the wages of 44,000 workers. For someone who works full-time, this increase would have meant an additional $2,000 per year. However, Congressional Republicans voted to block a minimum wage increase. [Source: Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.]
Child Care Initiative: Congressional Republicans Blocked Critical Child Care Assistance for Families in Maine. President Clinton proposed an historic child care initiative to make child care better, safer and more affordable for working families in Maine. The Presidents plan would have wiped out Federal income taxes for families of four in Maine making less than $35,000 and saddled with high child care bills. And Maine would have received $4.7 million in new funding to help low- income working families with child care costs. But, the Republican Congress blocked these critical child care investments. [Source: Department of Health and Human Services.]
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