THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Thursday, November 5, 1998
MOVING AMERICA INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
We should move forward to pass a patients' bill of rights. We should strengthen our schools by finishing the job of hiring 100,000 teachers and then passing the school modernization initiative, to give us 5,000 remodeled or new schools. We should increase the minimum wage. We should pass campaign finance reform. We must maintain our fiscal discipline to strengthen our own economy and maintain our efforts to stabilize the global economy.
-- President Bill Clinton
Today, President Clinton meets with the Democratic Leadership from Congress to discuss the agenda for the incoming Congress and the work that still needs to be done on important domestic issues, including saving Social Security, education, and health care.
President Clinton Stands With Working Families. During the budget negotiations, President Clinton fought for and won key agreements from Congress to help ensure our country continues to prosper as we move into the 21st Century. The President won key agreements, including:
- More High-Quality Teachers With Smaller Classes. The President won a down-payment on his pledge to hire 100,000 new teachers to help reduce class size in grades 1-3 to a national average of 18;
- Encouraging States To Open More Charter Schools. The President signed legislation to keep us on track to 3,000 charter schools by the turn of the century;
- Expanding Educational Technology. This year's budget includes a 20 percent increase for educational technology to ensure that every child has access to computers, the Internet, high-quality educational software, and teachers that can use technology effectively in the classroom;
- Protecting Our Environment And Public Health. President Clinton won significant new investments to protect our environment, increased funding to help clean up waterways that are still too polluted, and additional funding to acquire dozens of natural and historic sites;
- Responding To The Farm Crisis. The President helped ensure that emergency assistance to farmers and ranchers is available, including funds for crop and economic loss compensation;
- Leading The World Economy. President Clinton secured full funding for the International Monetary Fund so that it has the resources it needs to help contain the global financial crisis.
The Next Congress Should Put Progress Ahead Of Partisanship. President Clinton has a strong agenda to help move our country into the 21st Century. The last Congress failed to act on a number of issues that the President is firmly committed to. We will only be able to achieve progress on these important matters if we reach across party and generational lines to forge a true national consensus. The President is calling on the next Congress to work with him and:
- Save Social Security First. President Clinton believes that our hard won budget surplus should be reserved until Social Security is reformed for the 21st Century. We must maintain our fiscal discipline by avoiding programs or tax cuts that will drain the surplus and instead secure the long-term solvency of Social Security;
- Pass A Patients' Bill of Rights. that includes: access to specialists, coverage of emergency room services when and where the need arises, continuity of care if an employer switches plans, an internal and independent external appeals process allowing individuals to challenge decisions by HMO accountants, and protections to assure that HMO's are held accountable when patients are harmed or injured due to a health plans' decisions;
- Build Or Modernize 5,000 Schools Nationwide. The President has announced a plan to build or modernize 5,000 schools nationwide through targeted, fully paid for tax credits;
- Make Child Care More Affordable for working families;
- Increase The Minimum Wage so hard working Americans are given a raise they deserve;
- Crack Down On Teen Smoking;
- Pass Campaign Finance Reform.