The White House at Work

Monday, July 7, 1997
NATO Enlargement and Declining Welfare Roles


The President arrives in Madrid today for an historic NATO summit. This summit represents the culmination of the President's leadership in building a new Europe by opening NATO's doors to Europe's new democracies. A larger NATO will help make Europe and America more secure for the 21st century.

A larger NATO will mean greater ability to address new security challenges for the 21st century. Taking these wise steps now strengthens the common security of America and Europe and reduces the possibility of another large conflict in Europe.

NATO enlargement will help secure the historic gains of democracy in Europe. President Clinton has been working since 1994 to help build an undivided, democratic, and secure Europe. An expanded NATO can bolster progress in Eastern Europe towards strong democracies and free markets while improving and protecting the business climate for American companies and American workers.

NATO enlargement will encourage members to resolve their differences peacefully and erase Europe's artificial dividing line. A decision not to enlarge NATO would suggest a permanent acceptance of the artificial Cold War dividing line.


In his weekly radio address, President Clinton announced new data showing that welfare caseloads have declined by more than 3.1 million people since he took office in January 1993. The President also marked the July 1 implementation of the historic welfare reform law he signed last year, announcing that all states now have been certified to move forward with their plans to move more people from welfare to work.

On July 1 the historic welfare law that the President signed last August went into effect in every state, making work and responsibility the law of the land. In accordance with the welfare law, all state plans require work, impose time limits, and demand personal responsibility.

Welfare caseloads fell by 3.1 million recipients -- from 14.1 million recipients in January 1993 to just below 11 million in April 1997 -- a drop of 22% during the Clinton Administration. Forty-seven out of fifty states have seen their caseloads decline, 30 by more than 25%. This is the largest welfare caseload decline in history and the lowest percentage of the population on welfare since 1970.

The President is maintaining the commitment to make welfare reform work. The balanced budget agreement includes the $3.6 billion that the President requested to help cities and states create and subsidize jobs for welfare recipients and to provide tax credits and other incentives for businesses that hire people off welfare.

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