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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 14, 1998


Making strategic investments in our people, especially our children, has been a critical component of my economic strategy from the start. Last year, we worked together on a bipartisan basis to open the doors of college, expanding Pell Grants and creating $1,500 Hope scholarships to advance the critical goal of making college universally available. This year, I have proposed strategic investments to improve and reform K-12 education by putting standards, accountability, and choice back into our public schools. My agenda reduces class size, modernizes schools, invests in technology, and puts an end to social promotion. These initiatives would help ensure that every eight-year-old can read, every 12-year-old can sign onto the Internet, and every 18-year-old can be ready for college.

That is why I am deeply concerned with the Labor/HHS appropriations bill that Congress is considering today. This legislation denies essential educational opportunities to young people across the country, and important training and job opportunities for all Americans.

On balance, this bill fails to provide young Americans with the schooling and training that will be essential to their success as working adults, and to our success as a nation. The bill is fundamentally flawed. Overall, it cuts $2 billion from our request for education investment, short-changing initiatives on education reform, on raising educational achievement for our children, and on providing focused help for students who need it most. In addition, the bill fails to fund my childcare initiatives, eliminates current job training and other programs for low-income Americans, and has many other problems as well.

By turning their backs on America's young in this bill, the House Republicans are taking a step backward. I urge the Committee to provide the funds necessary for this bill to move America into the future, not backward. This bill shortchanges investments in education, and if it were sent to me in its current form, I would have no choice but to veto it.