THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Communications
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE Working on Behalf of Asian Pacific Americans September 1998
Balanced the Federal Budget. In 1992, the budget deficit was $290 billion, a record dollar high. This year, the budget will be in surplus for the first time in 30 years.
Saving Social Security First. President Clinton is committed to saving Social Security for the 21st Century. The President will fight any attempt to break the budget rules and drain the surplus. His commitment is unwavering: every penny of any future surplus must be reserved until a bipartisan plan to save Social Security is enacted.
Nearly 17 Million New Jobs. Under President Clinton, more new jobs have been created in 5 1/2 years than were created during the entire 8 years of the Reagan Administration (16.7 million under Pres. Clinton vs. 16.0 million under Pres. Reagan).
Declining Unemployment: 28-Year Low. In 1992, the unemployment rate averaged 7.5 percent, today (August 1998) the unemployment rate is 4.5 percent -- the lowest level since 1970. The unemployment rate has been below 5 percent for 14 consecutive months.
The Lowest Inflation in More than 30 Years. Since 1993, the inflation rate has averaged just 2.5 percent -- the lowest average inflation rate since the Kennedy Administration. Over the past year, the Consumer Price Index has increased only 1.6 percent.
Strong Private Sector Growth. The private sector of the economy has grown 3.9 percent annually -- the fastest rate of private-sector growth since the Johnson Administration.
The Median Household Income for Asian Pacific Americans Increased 2.2 Percent in 1997. Income for the median, or typical, Asian Pacific American household rose $980 in 1997, from $44,269 in 1996 to $45,249 (adjusted for inflation). This is an increase of 2.2 percent over 1996.
Tax Cuts For Low-Income Working Families. President Clinton's 1993 Economic Plan provided tax cuts to 15 million hard-pressed working families by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The average family with two kids who received the EITC received a tax cut of $1,026.
Minimum Wage Increased. Increased the Minimum Wage from $4.25 to $5.15 per hour -- increasing wages for 10 million.
Asian Pacific American Poverty Down More than 8 Percent since 1993. The poverty rate of Asian Pacific Americans has declined from 15.3 percent in 1993 to 14.0 percent in 1997. While this marks significant progress, President Clinton will continue to fight for policies that help to raise incomes and reduce poverty.
Supporting Minority Business Communities and Increasing Access to Capital. Over the past five years, (FY93-97) the Small Business Administration (SBA) has backed more than 16,760 loans worth $5.2 billion in loans to Asian Pacific American businesses. From FY98 through FY 2000, the Administration expects to deliver another $4.7 billion in loans to Asian Pacific American-owned businesses. That means that during the eight years of the Clinton Administration, the SBA will have delivered almost $10 billion in loan capital to Asian Pacific American entrepreneurs. In FY 2000, SBA expects to back more that $1.6 billion in loans to Asian Pacific American businesses, almost triple the amount loaned in FY92. In the SBA's 8(a) Minority Enterprise Development Program, Asian Pacific Americans own 1,341 of the 6,100 participating businesses. Those firms received about $1.7 billion in federal contracts in FY97. Almost 19,000 Asian Pacific Americans received business counseling and training under SBA?s Small Business Development Center program, and SBA's SCORE program counseled more than 9,000 Asian Pacific Americans last year.
Ensuring Minority Business Owners Have a Fair Opportunity to Compete. The President signed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century into law on June 9, 1998. The Act protects the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, a program that ensures that minority and women-owned businesses have an opportunity to compete for transportation projects. The Administration helped defeat an amendment to the House version of this bill that would have eliminated the DBE Program. In a different measure, the President also approved the creation of a new program to target assistance to minority-owned businesses in industries that continue to reflect the effects of discrimination. As a result, thousands of minority-owned businesses will be able to compete more effectively for government contracts.
Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. Thanks to President Clinton and the 1993 Economic Plan, 125 Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities have been created, programs that are spurring economic development in distressed communities. And the President's FY99 budget provides $150 million a year for 10 years to fund 15 new urban Empowerment Zones (EZs) and $20 million a year for 10 years to fund five new rural EZs. Additionally, the President's FY99 budget includes $400 million -- nearly triple the FY98 appropriation -- for a new Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) that is expected to leverage an estimated $2 billion in private-sector loans to help communities invest in businesses and create jobs.
Expanding Access to Capital with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). The President has expanded access to capital through the creation of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which supports banks and other entities that specialize in lending and investing in underserved communities. The President's FY99 Budget includes a $45 million increase in CDFI funding (from $80 million to $125 million) to allow the Fund to provide additional support for these institutions, including through an expanded training and technical assistance initiative.
Highest Homeownership Rate in History. There are more than 6.5 million new homeowners since the President took office.
Expanding Low-Income Housing Tax Credit by 40 Percent. In 1993, President Clinton fulfilled his promise to permanently extend the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, spurring the private development of low-income housing and helping to build 75,000-90,000 housing units each year. President Clinton now proposes to expand the credit by 40 percent. Over the next five years, this expansion will mean an additional 150,000 to 180,000 quality affordable rental units.
Put Forth a "Play-by-the-Rules" Homeownership Initiative and a Homeownership Zones Initiative. The FY99 budget proposal for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation includes $25 million for a new initiative that would make homeownership more accessible to families who have a good rental history but have difficulty purchasing a home, 10,000 lower-income and minority families who are currently renting would benefit from this initiative. In addition, the President's FY99 budget includes $25 million for Homeownership Zones, abandoned housing and distressed neighborhoods that communities could reclaim with this funding. Funds could be used for property acquisition, demolition, site preparation, housing construction or rehabilitation, homeownership counseling, relocation, and activities to further fair housing and homeownership.
Working on Behalf of Minority Farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to strengthen programs and increase outreach targeted to underserved communities, including increasing its lending to minority and women producers. In the past five years there has been a 74 percent increase in direct lending to these groups -- from $46.5 million in FY93 to $81 million in FY97. Additionally, the Administration is committed to righting any past wrongs by federal employees and has worked with the Congress in crafting language contained in the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would waive the two-year statute of limitations on discrimination complaints against USDA's farm and housing loan programs. This waiver would allow compensation to be provided to many minority farmers who were victims of discrimination by USDA from the early 1980's through the 1990's.
International Business Affairs
Facing the Challenges of the Global Economy. The President's strategy of fiscal discipline, investment in our people, and open trade is working for America. For the U.S. economy to continue to prosper, the economies of the world need to rebound from their recent difficulties. The United States, along with other leading nations, are working together to intensify efforts to speed economic recovery in Asia.
Opening Market Abroad: Over 240 Trade Agreements Have Helped Expand American Exports and Create American Jobs. Since President Clinton took office, the Administration has concluded over 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.
Created Three Major Global Trade Agreements In the World Trade Organization. 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 percent of the global financial services market). Together, these initiatives cover trade totaling more than $1 trillion annually.
Eliminated Barriers To Open Trade In Asia Pacific Nations From Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. 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.
Fighting For Equal Opportunity
Building One America. The President has led 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 common values that unite us. Angela Oh served on the Advisory Board to the President's Initiative on Race, which the President charged with overseeing this effort. The President, the Administration and the Advisory Board were actively involved in public outreach efforts -- including holding numerous public meetings and town halls -- to engage Americans across the nation in this historic effort. One of the critical elements of the President's Initiative on Race was identifying, highlighting and sharing with the nation promising practices -- local and national efforts to promote racial reconciliation. The Advisory Board presented their final report to the President on September 18, 1998, and recommended that conversations on race continue.
Creating an Administration That Looks like One America. Appointed the most diverse Administration in history. The Clinton Administration has more than triple the number of Asian 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; Robert Gee, Assistant Secretary for Policy, Planning and Program Evaluation, Department of Energy; Paul Igasaki, Vice Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Rose Ochi, Director, Office of Community Relations, Department of Justice; Donna Tanoue, Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Jeanette Takamura, Assistant Secretary for Aging, Department of Health & Human Services; T.S. Chung, Director Advocacy Center, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce; Barbara Chow, Associate Director for Human Resources, Office of Management and Budget; Dr. Isi Siddiqui, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Department of Agriculture; Maria Haley, Member of the Board, Export-Import Bank of the U.S. and Doris Matsui, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Public Liaison, The White House.
Increasing the Number of Judicial Appointments. Nominated more Asian Pacific Americans to the federal bench than any other Administration. Appointments include the Honorable A. Wallace Tashima, Judge, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court and District Court judges Denny Chin, Anthony Ishii, George King, and Susan Oki Mollway.
Ordered an Assessment of Affirmative Action Programs. The President ordered a comprehensive review of the government's affirmative action programs which concluded that affirmative action is still an effective and important tool to expand educational and economic opportunity to all Americans. This review of federal affirmative action programs has helped to ensure that these programs are fair and effective and that they can survive legal challenges. As a result, programs that benefit women and minorities, including students, working men and women, and business owners, remain in effect and are more likely to be upheld by the courts.
Increasing Civil Rights Enforcement. Vice President Gore announced the Administration's proposal for the largest single increase in funding to enforce existing civil rights laws in nearly two decades. Through new reforms and heightened commitment to enforcement, the Administration will seek to prevent discrimination before it occurs and to punish those who do discriminate in employment, education, housing and health care, and against those with disabilities. The Clinton Administration's FY99 budget contains $602 million for civil rights enforcement agencies and offices -- an increase of $86 million over last year's funding.
Increasing Funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The cornerstone of the improved civil rights enforcement effort is a $37 million increase (15 percent) for the EEOC. Through increased use of mediation, improved information technology and an expanded investigative staff, the EEOC will reduce the average time for resolving private-sector complaints from over 9.4 months to 6 months and cut the backlog of cases from 64,000 to 28,000, by the year 2000.
Opposed California Prop. 209 and Similar Measures. The Clinton Administration strongly opposes state and local initiatives to eliminate affirmative action programs that expand opportunities for Asian Pacific Americans and others. The Administration opposed Proposition 209 in California and filed amicus briefs opposing Prop. 209, which currently prohibits state affirmative action programs. The Clinton Administration opposed a similar initiative in Houston, which was defeated and is currently opposing an initiative in Washington that is similar to Prop. 209. In all these cases, representatives of the administration have spoken out strongly against these initiatives as unfair and a barrier to equality.
Ensuring Election Fairness. The Clinton Administration defended racially fair redistricting plans against claims that they were unconstitutional and 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 languages other than English have the same opportunities to participate in voting-related activities as English-speaking voters.
Increasing Voter Registration. During 1995 and 1996, the National Voter Registration Act or "Motor Voter" law registered nearly 14 million new voters and made voting easier for millions more. Notably, 1996 saw the highest percentage of voter registration since 1960. [FEC, 6/97]
Working for Fair Housing. To respond to the increase in reported cases of serious fair housing violations, HUD will double the number of its civil rights enforcement actions by the year 2000. HUD has also committed $15 million to 67 fair housing centers around the country to assist in fighting housing discrimination this year. In addition, the President's budget proposes $10 million for a targeted enforcement initiative that will use paired testing -- identical applicants of different races or genders approaching Realtors or landlords -- to detect and eliminate housing discrimination. Also, Secretary Cuomo now focuses on one race-based housing discrimination case each week and conducts a community forum around each case to turn the negative experience into a positive one that helps bring the community together.
Defended Fairness. The Clinton Administration has filed more cases between 1993 and 1997 to enforce fair housing laws than any other Administration (more than 500 cases). For instance, this Administration desegregated a Vidor, Texas, public housing complex and ordered a Mississippi bank to implement remedial lending plans for minority customers who were unfairly denied loans by the bank.
Eliminated Discriminatory "Redlining" Practices. The Clinton Administration negotiated agreements with health care agencies to eliminate discriminatory "redlining" practices denying home health care services based on residential location.
Working to Ensure a Fair and Accurate Census. The Clinton Administration is working to ensure that Census 2000 is the most accurate census possible using the best, most up-to-date scientific methods as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. According to the Census Bureau, the 1990 Census missed 8.4 million people and double-counted 4.4 million others. Nationally, 2.3 percent of Asians Pacific Americans were not counted in the 1990 census. While missing or miscounting so many people is a problem, the fact that certain groups -- such as children, the poor, people of color, city dwellers and people who live in rural rental homes -- were missed more often than others made the undercount even more inaccurate. A fair and accurate Census is a fundamental part of a representative democracy and is the basis for providing equality under the law. The President is determined to have a fair and full count in 2000.
Children and Families
Protecting Families. The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) enables workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a new baby or ailing family member without jeopardizing their job. Millions of workers have already benefited from FMLA since its enactment. The President also proposed expanding the Family & Medical Leave Act to allow workers up to 24 hours per year of unpaid leave for parent-teacher conferences or routine medical care for a child.
Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. President Clinton has announced a $400 million initiative to end racial and ethnic health disparities. The effort sets a national goal of eliminating the longstanding disparities by the year 2010 in six key health areas: infant mortality, diabetes, cancer screening and management, heart disease, AIDS and immunizations. Currently, for example, Vietnamese women suffer from cervical cancer at nearly five times the rate of white women. The President announced a five-step plan -- led by Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. David Satcher -- to mobilize the resources and expertise of the Federal government, the private sector, and local communities.
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.
Fighting to Pass a Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights. President Clinton has called on the Congress to pass a strong, enforceable patients' bill of rights that assures Americans the quality health care they need. The bill should include important patient protections such as: assuring direct access to specialists; real emergency room protections; continuity of care provisions that protect patients from abrupt changes in treatment; a fair, timely, and independent appeals process for patient grievances; and enforcement provisions to make these rights real.
Protected and Strengthened Medicare. The Balanced Budget Act extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund for at least a decade; expanded choices in health plans; and provided beneficiaries new preventive benefits. The President has also put forth a new proposal that will provide greater access to health insurance for Americans ages 55 to 65, including an option to buy into Medicare.
Extended Health Care to Millions of Children with the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). Because of the President's leadership, the Balanced Budget included $24 billion to provide real health care coverage to up to five million more children, the largest children's health care budget increase since Medicaid was created in 1965. Minority children make up a disproportionate number of the over 10 million uninsured children, with Asian Pacific American children making up 15.8 percent of all uninsured children. The Administration is actively reaching out to communities to target and enroll eligible, uninsured children in CHIP.
Increased WIC -- $1 Billion Higher. Under President Clinton, participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has expanded by 1.7 million -- from 5.7 million in 1993 to 7.4 million women, infants, and children in 1998, with funding rising from $2.9 billion to $3.9 billion. The President's budget proposes $4.1 billion in WIC funding to serve 7.5 million women, infants, and children in 1999, fulfilling his goal of full participation in WIC. Research shows that every $1 increase in the prenatal care portion of the WIC program cuts between $1.77 and $3.90 in medical expenses in the first 60 days following childbirth. In 1996, 3 percent of the infants who benefited from WIC were Asian Pacific American children.
Expanded Head Start By Nearly 60 Percent -- Over $1.5 Billion Higher Per Year. Since 1993, President Clinton has expanded Head Start by 57 percent, from $2.8 billion in FY93 to $4.4 billion in FY98. Of the estimated 830,000 children now enrolled in Head Start, 3 percent are Asian Pacific American children. The President's FY99 Budget increases Head Start funding by $313 million, which would mean Head Start funding would be 68-percent higher in 1999 than in 1993. The President is on track to meet his goal of enrolling one million children in Head Start.
Proposed the Largest Single Investment in Child Care in the Nation's History. The President's $21 billion child care proposal will give child care subsidies to millions of children and increase tax credits for three million working families to help them pay for child care.
Providing After-School Opportunities for Up to Half a Million Children a Year. Last year, the President fought for, and won, a $40 million expansion of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. Building on the success of this program, the President's FY99 budget includes a $200 million major expansion, which will provide safe and educational after-school opportunities for up to 500,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities across the country.
Made the 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.
Expanding Investments In Youth Education And Training. One of the President's top priorities is fighting efforts by Congress to eliminate both the Summer Jobs Program, which provides jobs to roughly 530,000 disadvantaged young people, and the new Youth Opportunity Area Initiative, which would help provide job training and help finding jobs for up to 50,000 youth in the poorest communities nationwide. The Youth Opportunity Area Initiative program provides high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 with academic and job-skills training, as well as apprenticeships building and rehabilitating affordable housing.
Expanding College Opportunity with Tuition Tax Credits, Education IRAs, and Largest Increase in Pell Grants in 20 Years. The President is making the first two years of college universally available with $1500 HOPE Scholarship credits and a 20 percent tax credit helps offset tuition costs for college or lifetime learning. The expanded IRA allows penalty- and tax-free withdrawals for education. And, in the coming school year, nearly 4 million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,000, 30 percent larger than when the President took office. In the 1995-96 school year, 33 percent of all Asian Pacific American students enrolled full-time in college received a Pell Grant. In addition, the FY99 budget proposes $249 million more for Pell Grants, which would help increase the maximum by another $100 to $3,100 -- the highest ever. This would reach 3.9 million low- and middle-income undergraduates. If the President's budget were enacted, the maximum grant would be 25-percent higher than in 1996.
Fostering Diversity. The White House recently awarded Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring Grants to both individual mentors and institutions that foster mentoring, helping to ensure that America's future scientists and engineers come from all of the nation's racial and cultural segments of the population.
Modernizing Our Schools. The President is working to pass federal tax credits to help rebuild, modernize, and build over 5,000 public schools nationwide.
Reducing Class Size. The President is pressing Congress to enact his proposal to reduce class size to a national average of 18 students in grades 1-3, by helping local schools hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers. Research shows that minorities, and low-income students in particular, benefit academically from smaller classes.
Teaching Every Child to Read by the 3rd Grade. More than 1000 colleges have committed work-study students to tutor children in reading, and thousands of AmeriCorps members and senior volunteers are organizing volunteer reading campaigns. In addition, the President is working to enact an early literacy bill such as the America Reads Initiative that will provide more tutors after school, improve the teaching of reading in our schools, and help parents help their children learn to read.
Striving for Excellence with National Education Standards. Thanks to President Clinton's leadership, the Title I program is helping more than 10 million disadvantaged students reach high academic standards by giving them extra help with basic and advanced skills. In the 1994-95 school year, 3 percent of the children benefiting from the Title I program were Asian Pacific American students.
Working to Pass the High Hopes for College Initiative. The High Hopes for College Initiative will inspire more young people to have high expectations, to stay in school and study hard, and to go to college. The Clinton Administration is working with Congress to pass this initiative which makes a long-term investment -- starting with $140 million in FY99 -- to promote partnerships between colleges and middle or junior high schools in low-income communities. The President's High Hopes program will provide one million at-risk middle school students (over five years) the mentoring and tutoring needed to raise education expectations and eliminate barriers to college.
Helping to Assist Schools with More Foreign Language Programs; Opposing English Only. The Administration has restructured Foreign Language Assistance Programs to assist local schools in establishing programs in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. The Clinton Administration strongly opposes 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 Pacific Americans comprising 3 percent 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.
Increased Bilingual Education by 35 Percent. Last year (FY97) in the Balanced Budget Agreement, the President secured a 35 percent increase in bilingual and immigrant education. 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. And the President's FY99 budget proposal includes an increase of $33 million for Bilingual and Immigrant Education.
Proposing Education Opportunity Zones. The President proposed $1.5 billion, over five years, to bolster reform efforts by high-poverty urban and rural school districts that demonstrate both a commitment to, and a track record in, improving educational achievement. Funds will be used to improve accountability, turn around failing schools, recognize outstanding teachers, deal with ineffective ones and expand public school choice. Added investments in these communities will accelerate progress and provide successful models of system-wide, standards-based reform.
Expanding Access to Educational Technology. The Clinton Administration created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to help connect every classroom to the Internet by 2000, increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom, provide teachers with technology training, and promote the development of high-quality educational software.
Linking Schools and Libraries to the Internet. The Clinton Administration has secured the 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. Schools and libraries are eligible for up to 90 percent (depending on poverty level) of discounts on telecommunications and information services.
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.
White House Conference on Hate Crimes. President Clinton hosted 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. The President announced significant law enforcement and prevention initiatives to get tough on hate crimes, including: support for legislation to expand the federal hate crimes law to cover crimes based on sexual orientation, gender, or disability; the creation of a network of local hate crime working groups; the addition of approximately 50 FBI agents and federal prosecutors to enforce hate crimes laws; improved collection of data on hate crimes; and the production of materials to educate the public -- especially youth -- about hate crimes.
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.
Falling Crime Rates. Violent crime is down six years in a row, the longest period of decline since 1960. Juvenile crime, which had been exploding, has declined 2 years in a row. Property and violent crime victimization rates are at their lowest levels in nearly 25 years.
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.
Putting 100,000 New Police on the Streets and Providing COPS Grants to Underserved Areas. The President's Crime Bill, through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, has already funded nearly 80,000 new officers. As a part of the COPS Program, the President announced new grants to increase police presence and community policing in underserved neighborhoods. Under this initiative, 18 cities will share $106 million to hire 620 new community policing officers. The pilot cities were selected following an analysis of crime, demographic and economic data.
Promoting Community Prosecutions. The President's FY99 budget includes $50 million for grants to promote community prosecution, which builds on effective community policing strategies. The funds will enable local prosecutors across the country to play a more active role in crime fighting by spending more time in their neighborhoods, both helping to solve crimes and preventing them before they happen.
Safe and Clean Environment
Environmental Justice and Redevelopment. The Clinton Administration issued an Executive Order on Environmental Justice to ensure that low-income citizens and minorities do not suffer a disproportionate burden of industrial pollution. The Administration identified pilot projects to be undertaken across the country to redevelop contaminated sites in low-income communities, turn them into useable space, create jobs and enhance community development.
Issued Toughest New Air Quality Standards in a Generation. The Clinton Administration issued new air quality standards for smog and soot that will prevent 15,000 premature deaths a year and improve the lives of millions of Americans who suffer from respiratory illnesses.
Cleaning Up Toxic Waste Sites and Redeveloping Brownfields. This Administration has cleaned up twice as many Superfund sites in less than six years as previous administrations did in twelve. To date, the Administration has awarded 228 Brownfields grants, for over $42 million, to states, cities, towns, counties, and tribes. These grants have leveraged nearly $1 billion for redevelopment of industrial sites and created over 2,000 jobs.
Providing Safe Drinking Water. The President proposed and signed legislation to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that our families have healthy, clean tap water. The Administration required America's 55,000 water utilities companies to provide regular reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water.
Reducing the Threat of Global Warming. The Administration negotiated an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an environmentally strong and economically sound way. The President's has proposed a five-year $6.3 billion package of tax incentives and research investment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
Protecting Our Natural Treasures. The Clinton Administration has protected or enhanced nearly 150 million acres of public and private lands, from the red rock canyons of Utah to the Florida Everglades. And the Administration has recently reached agreements to protect Yellowstone from mining and save the ancient redwoods of California's Headwaters Forest.
Fairness for Immigrants. The President worked with Congress to correct the most egregious impacts of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. As a result, almost a million people will be able to proceed with legalizing their immigration status under the former standards of immigration law and not the new, stricter and more burdensome standards enacted in 1996.
Restoring Food Stamp Benefits for Legal Immigrants. In June 1998, the President signed the Agricultural Research Act into law, which restores food stamp benefits to 250,000 elderly, disabled, and other needy legal immigrants, including 75,000 children, who lawfully resided in the U.S. as of August 22, 1996, and lost assistance as a result of cuts in the 1996 welfare law that had nothing to do with welfare reform. It restores benefits to Hmong immigrants from Laos who aided our country during the Vietnam War and extends the period during which refugees and asylees may qualify for Food Stamps while they await citizenship. This law funds a significant part of the President's 1999 budget proposal to restore food stamp benefits to 730,000 legal immigrants, but the President's budget proposal would go further by covering families with children regardless of the date they entered the U.S. This restoration builds on the President's success last year in restoring SSI and Medicaid to 420,000 legal immigrants whose benefits were also terminated in welfare reform (see below).
Reversing Unfair Cuts; Protects Legal Immigrants Who Become Disabled and Those Currently Receiving Benefits. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 restored $11.5 billion in SSI and Medicaid benefits for legal immigrants whose benefits were also terminated in welfare reform. This law protects those immigrants now receiving assistance, ensuring that they will not be turned out of their apartments or nursing homes or otherwise left destitute. And for immigrants already here but not receiving benefits, the BBA does not change the rules retroactively. Immigrants in the country as of August 22, 1996, but not receiving benefits at that time who subsequently become disabled will also be fully eligible for SSI and Medicaid benefits. When the President signed the 1996 Welfare Reform Law, he pledged to go back and change provisions that have nothing to do with welfare reform, such as cutting off benefits to legal immigrants. Critics said the changes would never be made. However, in 1997 and again in 1998, the President followed through on his pledge -- and won many of the changes he sought in the 1996 law.
Strengthening the Naturalization Process. The Administration made naturalization a top priority of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in order to continue fostering legal immigration while combating illegal immigration. For instance, over one million individuals were naturalized 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 in America. In FY99, the Administration is seeking an infusion of new resources to reduce the backlog of naturalization applications and improve customer service.
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.
Persuaded North Korea To Freeze its Dangerous Nuclear Program. The Administration persuaded North Korea to freeze its dangerous nuclear program and is one of the leading forces for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Renewed Bipartisan Consensus for Engagement with China. The Administration has renewed the bipartisan consensus for engagement with China to advance U.S. interests and draw the world's most populous nation more fully into the international community.
Supporting Human Rights In China. The Administration has engaged China's leaders in ground-breaking human rights dialogue.
Led International Efforts Against Terrorism. The Administration has led international efforts against terrorism, including signing anti-terrorism legislation that ensures strong penalties for convicted terrorists.
Secured Bipartisan Senate Ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Start II Treaty. The convention bans the production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. Start II, together with Start I, will reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals two-thirds from their Cold War heights.
Meeting Emerging Threat of Biological Weapons. By strengthening our ability to respond to an attack, vaccinating our troops and seeking tough inspection to enforce international treaty.
Led Efforts to Rid the World of Land Mines. The Administration has led efforts to rid the world of land mines by eliminating non self-destructing mines from our arsenals, seeking alternatives to self-destructing mines by 2006, and devoting more resources to removing existing mines than the rest of the world combined.