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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release January 18, 1999

                  Proposal Would Increase Funding for 
                 Civil Rights Enforcement by 15 Percent

     Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today that the

Clinton-Gore Administration will seek $663 million for civil rights enforcement, a 15 percent increase over last year's funding levels.

"I am proud to announce today that as part of the balanced budget we will be submitting to Congress next month, we are proposing to invest $663 million for civil rights enforcement," Vice President Gore said. "These funds will help ensure that no American is denied a job, a home, or an education because of their race, color, creed, gender, or religion; instead we will help ensure equal opportunity for all Americans."

Specifically, the Vice President announced today:

Increased Funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The Administration's 2000 budget provides $312 million for the EEOC, 12 percent more than the enacted 1999 budget. Funds will go to support, among other things, the agency's effort to reduce the backlog of private sector cases to 28,000 by the end of 2000, through a combination of investments in information technology, increased use of mediation, and increased staffing.

Increased Funding for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division

The President's 2000 budget provides $82 million, a 19 percent increase over the 1999 enacted level of $69 million. This represents the largest increase for the Civil Rights Division in nine years. The proposed funding will permit the Department of Justice to significantly expand investigations and prosecutions of criminal civil rights cases (including hate crimes and police misconduct), fair housing and lending cases, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This increase will also allow the Division to prepare for the review, required by the Voting Rights Act, of numerous redistrictings that will follow the 2000 Census, and to obtain necessary technology improvements.

Funding for Civil Rights Enforcement Partnerships at the Department of Justice

State attorneys general have a vital role to play as partners in eliminating discrimination through civil rights enforcement. The President's Budget proposes $5 million for the Civil Rights Enforcement Partnership, which will provide competitive grants to help build the capacity of states to address specific enforcement issues within their jurisdictions by hiring additional staff.

Increased Funding for the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

The Administration's budget requests $76 million for OFCCP -- an $11 million or 17% increase over the FY 1999 enacted level. The request includes funds to expand the compliance assistance strategy to encourage Federal contractor compliance through increased outreach, education, and technical assistance, including providing contractors with the necessary tools to evaluate their equal employment practices.

Increased Funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Fair Housing Initiatives

The Administration's budget proposes $47 million, or an over 17 percent increase from last year, for HUD's efforts to reduce housing discrimination. The budget requests $27 million, a 15 percent increase, for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), which provides funding to private fair housing groups to assist in enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. This includes $7.5 million to fund the second year of a three-year audit-based enforcement initiative. The Administration proposal also seeks $20 million, a 21 percent increase, for the Fair Housing Assistance Program, to support the creation of additional State and local housing organizations to meet the needs of currently under served populations and to aid joint investigations and enforcement activities.

Increased Funding for the United States Department of Agriculture's Office of Civil Rights

The President's budget proposal increases funding for USDA's civil rights programs from $16 million to $19 million. USDA's civil rights programs will emphasize outreach to disadvantaged farmers, involve small and disadvantaged businesses in USDA programs, increase conflict resolution activities, and more effectively process complaints brought by employees and customers.

Increased Funding for the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights

The President's budget proposal of $73 million provides an increase of $7 million over the 1999 enacted budget to fund staff training and technological improvements to ensure the resolution of civil rights issues. The additional funds will enable OCR to work with State Educational Agencies to address statewide compliance with civil rights laws, fund a comprehensive demographic survey of the universe of elementary and secondary public school districts, and keep pace with increased customer and stakeholder expectations for information and involvement in civil rights problem solving.