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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 25, 1999
       President Clinton Calls For Bipartisan Season Of Progress
              On Key Domestic Challenges Facing The Nation
                         Georgetown University

                             June 25, 1999

     President Clinton today called for a bipartisan "season of

progress" on the key domestic challenges facing the nation. In his first public event since his trip to Europe following the end of the US/NATO air campaign, the President expressed his determination to get the people's work done by joining with Congress and, when necessary, by Executive action. He addressed the following issues:

Progress On Issues Where Bipartisan Consensus Already Exists:

     Protect Health Insurance For Disabled Americans Who Want To Rejoin
     The Workforce.  The Kennedy/Jeffords bill -- or Work Incentives
     Improvement Act -- is historic new legislation which has bipartisan
     support in both the House and the Senate under the leadership of
     Senators Jeffords, Kennedy, Roth, and Moynihan and Representatives
     Lazio, Waxman, Bliley, and Dingell.  The bill removes significant
     barriers to work for people with disabilities by: improving access
     to health care through Medicaid; extending Medicare coverage for
     people with disabilities who return to work; and creating a new
     Medicaid buy-in demonstration to help people with a specific
     physical or mental impairment that is expected to lead to a severe
     disability without medical assistance.  The President has urged
     Congress to pass this important and long overdue legislation by
     July 26, the ninth anniversary of the ADA.

     Pass A Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights For Millions Of
     Americans In HMOs.  Tens of millions of Americans who receive their
     health care through Health Maintenance Organizations lack adequate
     protections.  They are not ensured access to specialists.  They can
     be forced to change doctors in mid-treatment.  They do not have
     adequate recourse when a health plan provides less than adequate
     care.  And worst of all, they have no guarantee that their doctor 
     -- not an insurance company accountant -- makes their treatment
     decisions.  The President's "Patients' Bill of Rights" legislation
     addresses all of these problems families face.

     Raise The Minimum Wage To Make Work Pay And Strengthen Families.
     We have the best economy in a generation.  And yet there are too
     many families working full-time, 50 weeks a year who don't earn
     enough to support a family.  Currently, a person working full-time
     and earning the minimum wage receives only $10,300 -- not enough to
     move families from dependency to self-sufficiency.  In his State of
     the Union Address, the President called on Congress to pass the
     Kennedy-Bonior proposal to raise the minimum wage by $1 over two
     years, from $5.15 to $6.15 an hour.  Over 11 million Americans
     would benefit from this increase -- for a full-time worker, it
     would mean an additional $2000 in income.  Seventy percent of those
     who would benefit are adults over 20 and 59 percent are women, many
     of whom are trying to raise families.

     Provide Americans With Targeted Tax Cuts For Retirement, Child Care
     and Long-term Care.  The President's budget provides for targeted
     tax cuts for American families, including:

     USA Accounts, which will give 124 million Americans the opportunity
     to build wealth and to save for their retirement through a
     progressive tax cut.  A middle income married couple that
     participated for 40 years, could accumulate over $253,680 in
     today's dollars -- enough to produce $20,121 a year of after-tax
     income in retirement.

     Long-term Care Tax Credit to help pay for formal and informal
     long-term care services for about 2 million Americans, including
     1.2 million older Americans, over 500,000 non-elderly adults, and
     approximately 250,000 children.  The budget includes $5.6 billion
     over five years.

     Child Care Tax Credits, which provide tax relief for child care for
     three million working families, plus tax relief to parents who stay
     at home.  The President's budget proposal will provide parents with
     young children an average tax credit of $178 and will benefit 1.7
     million families.  Overall, the budget includes $6.3 billion over
     five years for this combined proposal.

     Pass Strong Campaign Finance Reform To Renew Our Elections.  The
     President remains committed to the enactment of bipartisan campaign
     finance reform.  There is bipartisan support for passage of the
     Shays/Meehan bill in the House and the McCain/Feingold bill in the
     Senate.  Congress should act on these measures.  Real reform must
     meet the following five criteria: 1) it must be bipartisan; 2) it
     must be comprehensive; 3) it must reduce the amount of money that
     is raised and spent on federal elections; 4) it must help level the
     playing field between challengers and incumbents; and 5) it cannot
     favor one party over the other.

Progress On Fundamental Challenges Facing Our Nation:

     Pass A Budget That Maintains Fiscal Discipline And Makes Key
     Investments In The American People While Strengthening Social
     Security And Medicare.  The President sent the Congress a budget
     proposal earlier this year that maintains fiscal discipline and
     makes strategic investments in the American people -- a combination
     that has resulted in the best economy in a generation.  The
     President's plan invests in key priorities like education and the
     environment.  It dedicates most of the budget surplus to
     strengthening Social Security and Medicare.  And it does all of
     this while remaining within the budget caps established by the
     Balanced Budget Act in 1997.

     Enact A Credible, Comprehensive Plan To Strengthen And Modernize
     Medicare, Including The Creation Of A New Prescription Drug
     Benefit.  President Clinton will soon unveil his comprehensive plan
     to modernize and strengthen Medicare.  The President has already
     proposed that 15 percent of the budget surplus be dedicated for
     this purpose.  The President's proposal will include a new
     prescription drug benefit as part of a broader set of reforms for
     the Medicare program.

     Maintain Commitment To Hiring 100,000 New Teachers To Reduce Class
     Size -- And Pass The President's Plan To Increase Accountability
     For States And School Districts.  Last year, Congress agreed to
     begin funding the President's initiative to hire 100,000 new
     teachers in our schools to reduce class sizes and improve
     education.  This year, the first of those teachers will be hired
     and in the classroom.  The budget proposal President Clinton sent
     to Congress earlier this year continues this commitment.  And the
     President expects Congress to continue and build on this investment
     in Education, rather than back away from it.

     In addition, the President wants the Congress to enact his plan to
     strengthen accountability, improve teacher quality and dramatically
     boost student achievement in our public schools.  The President's
     proposal includes measures to insure that states and school
     districts:  fix failing schools; hire teachers that are prepared to
     teach the subjects they are assigned; provide parents with annual
     report cards on school performance; and end school promotion the
     right way.

     Enact The President's "New Markets" Tax Credits To Bring Economic
     Opportunity To Underserved Rural and Urban Communities.  The
     President will soon announce his plan to bring economic opportunity
     and new private investment to America's most underserved rural and
     urban communities.  We have the best economy in a generation and
     these communities have benefited, along with the rest of America.
     But we have an opportunity to do more, to build on the
     Administration's earlier efforts and lift these "New Markets" into
     the economic mainstream.

     The President will unveil legislation including a series of
     proposals to bring capital and private investment to underserved
     communities.  Then, in early July, the President will tour
     America's New Markets with CEOs, members of his Cabinet, members of
     Congress and others -- to highlight both the problems and the
     potential these communities possess.

     Protect Our Children From Gun Violence By Enacting The Moderate,
     Common Sense Gun Measures Passed By The Senate.  On April 20, 12
     young people were shot to death at school in Littleton, Colorado.
     In response to increasing acts of school gun violence, the
     President took comprehensive action -- calling on everyone from
     parents, teachers and students to entertainment executives and gun
     owners and gun dealers to take more responsibility.  As one
     element of that strategy, the President called on Congress to close
     the glaring loopholes in the law which allow kids and criminals to
     obtain guns - most importantly the gun show loophole.

     While the Senate passed many of the President's common sense
     proposals, the House narrowly voted against closing the gunshow
     loophole and defeated the bill on June 18 -- almost two months to
     the day after the Littleton tragedy.

     Today, President Clinton called on Congressional leaders to appoint
     negotiators and quickly send him a bill that includes the Senate
     passed gun measures.