PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
Working on Behalf of Asian And Pacific Americans
The Strongest Economy In A Generation. President Clinton's three-part economic strategy --balancing the budget, investing in our people, opening new markets to American goods and services --is working for America's families. Since 1993 it has helped bring about:
- Strong economic growth. In the first quarter of 1998, the economy grew at a strong annual rate of 4.2 percent --the sixth consecutive quarter in which growth exceeded 3 percent;
- The first investment-led expansion in three decades. In the first quarter of 1998, investment in business equipment rose 28.8 percent at an annual rate. For the first time on record, business investment has grown at double-digit rates for five years in a row;
- The first balanced budget in a generation. The President's FY99 budget will be the first balanced budget in a generation, after inheriting a record $290 billion deficit in 1992.
- The lowest unemployment level in more than 25 years. In 1992, the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. In the first quarter, the unemployment rate was 4.7 percent -- its lowest level since 1970;
- Almost 15 million new jobs. Since President Clinton took office, the economy has added nearly 15 million new jobs -- with nearly two million new jobs in manufacturing and construction combined;
- An increase in family income of nearly $2,200. Real wages are rising at their fastest pace in 20 years and the typical family's income is up nearly $2,200 since 1993, when adjusted for inflation;
- The highest consumer confidence level in 30 years. In the first quarter of 1998, consumer confidence rose to is highest quarterly level since 1969.
- The Lowest Inflation Since 1964. Over the past year, inflation rose just 1.4%--the smallest increase in 34 years.
- Tripled the number of small business loans to Asian and Pacific American entrepreneurs. Between 1993 and 1997 the SBA approved nearly 17,000 loans to Asian and Pacific American entrepreneurs under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. Last year alone, the Small Business Administration granted more than 4,500 loans to Asian and Pacific American small business owners, nearly triple the number of loans granted in 1992.
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.
Foreign language. Restructured Foreign Language Assistance Programs to assist local schools in establishing programs in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Strongly opposed 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 and Pacific American comprising 3% of all participants (1996 data). This year 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.
The largest Pell Grant increase in 20 years. President Clinton increased Pell Grants from $2,300 in 1993 to $2,700 in 1997. These grants provide a total of 3.7 million low-income students the opportunity to attend college. And for FY 1998, Congress adopted President Clinton's proposal to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $3,000 --the largest increase in two decades. Approximately 3.7 million students will receive this year's $300 increase, and an additional 220,000 low-and moderate-income families that were not previously eligible will receive Pell Grants.
Higher education tax cuts. The balanced budget agreement calls for roughly $35 billion in tax cuts to help families pay for college. Congress has enacted the President's $1,500 HOPE Scholarship tuition tax credit, to make the first two years of college universally available. Students beyond the first two years, or part-time students seeking to improve or acquire job skills, can now receive a 20% lifelong learning tax credit for up to $5,000 of tuition and required fees through 2002, and $10,000 thereafter.
Increased bilingual education by 35%. Last year, enacted a 35% increase in bilingual and immigrant education secured by the President in the Balanced Budget Agreement. The bilingual education funding will help school districts teach English to more than a million limited English proficient children, as well as provide some 4,000 teachers with the training they need to do their jobs better. The Immigrant Education program will help more than a thousand school districts provide supplemental instructional services to 875,000 recent immigrant students.
Helping more children in elementary and secondary schools. 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.
Expanding access to educational technology. The President's 1997 Budget Agreement with Congress doubles the funding for America's Technology Literacy Challenge, catalyzing private-public sector partnerships to put the information age at our children's fingertips. The President is committed to helping communities and the private sector ensure that every student is equipped with the computer literacy skills needed for the 21st century. For 1998, the Appropriations Act provides $425 million, more than twice as much as the $200 million appropriated last year.
Linking schools and libraries to the Internet. The Clinton Administration is implementing a plan to create an "E-Rate," provided for in the Telecommunications Act, a discounted education rate for telecommunications services so schools and libraries will be able to bring technology into the classroom, set up phone lines and access the Internet at a fraction of the cost. The FCC has already approved a plan to make discounts worth approximately $1.8 billion in 1998 available to our schools and libraries, with low-income schools eligible for discounts of up to 90%.
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.
Promoting Equal Opportunity
Building One America. The President is leading 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 values that unite us. Angela Oh serves on the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race, which the President charged with overseeing this effort.
An Administration that looks like One America. Appointed the most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history. The Clinton Administration has more than triple the number of Asian and 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 Finance Administration, Department of Health and Human Services; and Robert Gee, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Program Evaluation, Department of Energy.
Judicial appointments. Nominated more Asian and Pacific Americans to the federal bench than any other Administration, including the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima, Judge U.S. Ninth Circuit Court.
Opposed California Prop 209. Filed amicus briefs opposing California Proposition 209 which would prohibit state affirmative action programs.
Election fairness. 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 Asian languages have the same opportunities to participate in voting-related activities as English-speaking voters.
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.
The rate of violent crime is down. From 1992 to 1996, violent crime has decreased by over 16%, and in the first six months of 1997, violent crime declined by an additional 5 percent. Preliminary 1997 data show murder and robbery also down by 9 percent.
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's history. 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.
More police on our streets and community policing. The President's plan to put 100,000 more police officers on the street through community policing represents the federal government's biggest commitment ever to local law enforcement. The President's plan will result in an almost 20% increase in the nation's police force levels. Already, the Administration has provided funding for over 72,000 officers, who are now helping keep our neighborhoods and communities safe.
White House Conference on Hate Crimes. President Clinton convened 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.
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. In 1996 alone, 27 cases received enhanced sentences.
Safe and Clean Environment
Environmental justice and redevelopment. Issued an Executive Order on Environmental Justice, ensuring that low income citizens and minorities do not suffer a disproportionate burden of industrial pollution. Identified pilot projects to be undertaken across the country to redevelop contaminated sites in low-income communities and turn them into useable space, creating jobs and enhancing community development.
Naturalization. Made naturalization a top priority of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in order to continue fostering legal immigration while combating illegal immigration. Naturalized over one million individuals 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 as American citizens.
Responsible immigration reform. Worked to enact responsible immigration reform legislation by properly focusing on immigration enforcement and opposing severe reductions in legal immigration which were not consistent with pro-family, pro-worker and pro-naturalization principles.
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. Restored benefits to legal immigrants. When the President signed the 1996 Welfare Reform Law, he pledged to go back and change provisions he opposed regarding the cutting off of benefits to legal immigrants. Critics said the changes would never be made. However, in 1997, the President followed through on his pledge --and won much of the change he sought in the 1996 law. The President fought for and won $11.5 billion in SSI and Medicaid benefits for legal immigrants. He won changes that protect those immigrants now receiving assistance, ensuring that they will not be turned out of their apartments or nursing homes or otherwise left destitute. And immigrants in this country as of August 22, 1996, who subsequently become disabled will be eligible for SSI and Medicaid.
International business affairs
Opening Market Abroad: Over 240 Trade Agreements Have Helped Expand American Exports and Create American Jobs: Since President Clinton took office, his Administration has concluded 240 new trade agreements. This has helped expand exports so that over the last five years, new exports have accounted for more than one-third of our economic growth and have helped created jobs that, on average, pay 15 percent more than non-export related jobs. Notably, thirty percent of U.S. exports go to Asia and this country exports more goods to Asia than Europe.
WTO: In the last year, 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% of the global financial services market. Together these initiatives total cover trade totaling more than $1 trillion annually.
APEC: 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, 15 sectors will be identified for tariff reductions, including energy products and services, environmental technologies and services, natural resources, medical equipment, telecommunications, gems and jewelry.
APA Heritage Month