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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Oslo, Norway)
For Immediate Release                                   November 2, 1999


Today, by a narrow margin, Congress completed action on a deeply flawed spending bill that I will veto. This bill is a catalog of missed opportunities, misguided priorities, and mindless cuts. It forces America's schoolchildren to pay the price for Congress's failure to make responsible choices. I will not let it become law.

The bill -- which includes the Labor/Health and Human Services/Education appropriations measure -- makes a blind, across-the-board cut that will hurt everything from national defense to veterans' programs, from education to the environment. It reneges on last year's bipartisan commitment to fund 100,000 teachers and reduce class size in the early grades, replacing this proven approach with a risky block grant that opens the door to private school vouchers. It fails to include a key accountability initiative to help turn around failing schools. And it shortchanges many other priorities, including efforts to enhance worker safety, expand child care, detect emerging infectious diseases, and protect Americans from the threat of bioterrorism.

This debate is not just about how much we spend but also how wisely we spend. I sent Congress a budget for education, health care, and other programs that invests in results and is fully paid for. But Congress continues to pursue an agenda of irresponsible cuts and ill-conceived allocations. The patience of the American public is wearing thin. It is time for Congress to put aside partisanship and make the targeted investments our nation's future demands.