THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Communications
PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE Working on Behalf of the Hispanic Community
Economy 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. The unemployment rate for Latinos has dropped from 11.3 percent in January 1993 to 7.5 percent in August 1998.
Income of Median Hispanic Households Up $2,553 in Past Two Years. In 1997, the income of the median Hispanic household, adjusted for inflation, increased from $25,477 in 1996 to $26,628 in 1997 -- an increase of $1,151 or 4.5 percent. Over the past two years, the income of the typical Hispanic household has risen $2,553 -- or nearly 11 percent -- the largest two-year increase in Hispanic income on record.
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.
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. In 1997, the EITC lifted more than 1.2 million Hispanics out of poverty.
Largest Hispanic Poverty Drop In Two Decades. Last year, the Hispanic poverty rate dropped from 29.4 percent to 27.1 percent -- the largest one-year drop in Hispanic poverty since 1978. Since President Clinton took office, Hispanic poverty has dropped from 30.6 percent to 27.1 percent. While this marks significant progress, President Clinton will continue to fight for policies that help to raise incomes and reduce poverty.
Minimum Wage Increased. The President raised the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour -- directly benefitting 1.6 million Hispanic workers.
Fighting for Paycheck Equity. The President has called on Congress to pass legislation to strengthen laws prohibiting wage discrimination. In 1996, the median earnings of Hispanic women represented 57 percent of the median earnings for men.
Two and a Half Times More Small Business Loans to Hispanic Entrepreneurs. Between 1993 and 1997 the SBA approved nearly 15,000 loans to Hispanic entrepreneurs under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs. Last year alone, the Small Business Administration granted more than 3,300 loans, worth $615 million, to Hispanic small business owners, two and a half times the number of loans granted in 1992.
Supporting Minority Business Communities and Increasing Access to Capital. Building on the efforts of the SBA, Vice President Gore unveiled aggressive plans to increase lending and business services to the African American and Hispanic business communities nationwide. The SBA has set a goal of providing an estimated total of $1.86 billion in loans to African American small businesses over a three-year period and $2.5 billion worth of loans to Hispanic-owned businesses by the year 2000. In addition, the Vice President announced an unprecedented agreement between SBA and the "Big Three" U.S. automakers to increase subcontracting awards to minority businesses by nearly $3 billion over the next three years -- a 50 percent increase over current levels.
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.
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.
Increasing Homeownership. The Clinton Administration launched a program to increase the homeownership rate of Hispanics in the U.S. through advertising, education and counseling programs and working with lending institutions to better serve the Hispanic community. Progress has been made, four million Hispanics, or 44 percent, now own their homes.
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 using 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.
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. AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson 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.
An Administration That Looks like One America. The President appointed the most diverse Cabinet and Administration in history. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and Small Business Administrator Aida Alvarez are members of the President's Cabinet. Federico Pena and Henry Cisneros previously served in the President's Cabinet.
Judicial Appointments. Seven percent of all judicial appointments are Hispanics including the Honorable Jose Cabranes, Judge, Second Circuit U.S. Circuit Court and the Honorable Hilda Tagle, Judge, Southern District of Texas, U.S. District Court.
Senior Level Administration Appointments. President Clinton has appointed more Hispanics to senior level positions than any President in American history. Eight percent of Presidential appointments, including boards and commissions, are held by Latinos. These Presidential appointees include Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President George Munoz; Norma Cantu, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education; Saul Ramirez, Jr., Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary; Eduardo Gonzalez, Director of the United States Marshals Service; Eluid Levi Martinez, Commissioner of Bureau of Reclamation at the Department of Interior; Ida L. Castro, Director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor and Chair-designee for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Patricia T. Montoya, Commissioner-designee for Children, Youth & Families at the Department of Health and Human Services; and John U. Sepulveda, Deputy Director-designee at the Office of Personnel Management. White House appointees include: Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff Maria Echaveste; Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Mickey Ibarra; and Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for Legislative Affairs Janet Murguia.
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 Hispanics, 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. On Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, January 19, 1998, 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 Hispanics 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 Spanish have the same opportunities to participate in voting-related activities as English-speaking voters.
Oppose English-Only Legislation. 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. Increasing Voter Registration. During 1995 and 1996, the National Voter Registration Act or "Motor Vote" 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] Opposed California Prop. 187. Opposed California's Proposition 187, which would have made illegal immigrants ineligible for public school education at all levels and ineligible for public health care services.
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.
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, 5 percent of Hispanics 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.
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 the 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 President has 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.
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.
Put Forward a Hispanic Education Action Plan. The Hispanic dropout rate is 2.5 times the rate for African Americans and 3.5 times the rate for white non-Hispanics. The Administration is reaching out to Hispanic youth, encouraging them to stay in school, graduate from high school, and go on to college so that they can compete successfully for good jobs and take advantage of promising career opportunities. As part of these efforts, the Clinton Administration put forth a $600 million Hispanic Education Action Plan. This initiative will provide the investments needed to help Hispanic students master basic skills and become proficient in English. It will also assist schools in implementing reforms to reduce dropout rates, enable adults to receive basic skills training and participate in English-as-a-second-language programs, and offer assistance to colleges and universities that serve large numbers of Hispanic students.
Increased Funding for Hispanic-Serving Colleges. This year (FY98), the Administration enacted an 11 percent increase for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), colleges and universities with at least 25 percent Hispanic enrollments.
Established a Hispanic Advisory Commission. In 1994, the President issued an Executive Order on Educational Excellence for Hispanics which established an advisory commission to oversee the improvement in education for Hispanics and would work to ensure that Hispanic-Serving Institutions will have more input regarding educational goals and issues of concern to Hispanics. The Commission's report identified contributing factors impacting attainment of educational excellence, corrective policy actions, and plans for program development and funding.
Implemented the Student Diversity Partnership Program. Partnered with Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Center for the Advancement of Hispanics in Science and Engineering Education to implement the Student Diversity Partnership Program. This program will ensure an adequate supply of diverse and qualified scientists and engineers for the 21st century. In addition, 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.
AmeriCorps College Support. Since 1993, more than 100,000 people have had the opportunity to serve through AmeriCorps, with Hispanics comprising 13 percent of all participants (1996 data). This year alone, nearly 50,000 young people will take advantage of the opportunity to serve and will earn an award of up to $4,725 to pay for college or repay student loans.
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 Summer Jobs programs provides an estimated 25 percent of the summer jobs held by African American 14-15 years olds and at least 16 percent held by Hispanic 14-15 year olds. 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, 54 percent of all Hispanic students enrolled full-time in college received a Pell Grant.
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.
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. Now Hispanics are 32 percent of the children served in Title I.
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.
Greater Access to Education Technology. The President has made an unprecedented commitment to bringing technology into the classroom and has called for technology training for teachers and expanded access for teachers and students to computers in the classroom. As a part of this effort, the Clinton Administration secured an e-rate (discounts worth over $2.5 billion every year) for schools, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals to connect to the Internet.
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.
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 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.
Children and Families
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. There are major health disparities among Hispanics. Latinos are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes than non-Latinos and Latinos have two to three times the rate of stomach cancer as white Americans. 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. Six percent of all beneficiaries currently enrolled in Medicare are Hispanic. 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 Program (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. African American children make up 25 percent and Hispanic children make up 30 percent of all uninsured children -- more than twice their percentage of the overall population. The Administration is actively reaching out to communities to target and enroll eligible, uninsured children in CHIP.
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.
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, 30 percent of the infants who benefited from WIC were Hispanic.
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, 26 percent of the children are of Hispanic origin. 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 having one million children enrolled 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.
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.
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.
Democracy for Cuba. The Clinton Administration increased efforts to promote a peaceful, democratic transition in Cuba by keeping pressure on the Castro government for change while reaching out to the Cuban people. The President has strengthened international consensus on the need for action to promote human rights and democracy. Responding to the Pope's historic visit to Cuba, the Clinton Administration authorized humanitarian measures to alleviate the Cuban people's suffering, helping them to prepare for a democratic future and increase contact.
Support Our Closest Neighbors. The Administration took decisive action in assembling a financial support package for Mexico. The President's leadership prevented a prolonged financial crisis in Mexico and its spread to other Latin American countries. In addition, the President traveled to Latin America and launched hemispheric negotiations for Free Trade Area of the Americas.