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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 29, 1999



November 29, 1999

Today President Clinton will sign the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2000, providing funding for education, public safety, the environment, international leadership, health care and other priorities. In his speech, the President will prod Congress to act on America's unfinished business when it returns in January.

Protecting Fiscal Discipline and Paying Down the Debt. The budget represents a victory for President Clinton's policy of fiscal discipline. Between 1981 and 1992, the debt quadrupled. In 1992 the deficit was $290 billion and projected to rise to over $400 billion in 1999. As a result of the tough and sometimes unpopular choices made by President Clinton in 1993 and 1997, we have seen seven consecutive years of fiscal improvement for the first time in America's history, bringing last year's budget to a unified surplus of $124 billion -- the largest ever. Throughout the year, the Republicans proposed irresponsible tax cuts that would have jeopardized this record of fiscal discipline. In September, the President vetoed a Republican tax cut that would have drained hundreds of billions of dollars of the Social Security surplus from debt reduction. As a result of the President's stand, America will stay on course to pay off the debt held by the public by 2015 -- for the first time since Andrew Jackson was President.

A Victory for America's Students. After vetoing a Congressional budget that denied funding to critical education and training investments, President Clinton and Vice President Gore delivered on their ambitious education agenda.

More High-Quality Teachers With Smaller Class Sizes: Building on a new initiative by the President last year, the bill includes $1.3 billion for a bipartisan plan to help reduce class size in the early grades by hiring 100,000 quality teachers over the next six years. Accountability for the Lowest Performing Schools: It also includes $134 million in Title I funds for this new initiative to help turn around the worst-performing schools and hold them accountable for results. Double Funding for After School: It provides $453 million for after school, providing support to 675,000 students - 375,000 more than last year.

GEAR UP: It provides a 67 percent increase to $200 million for the President's GEAR UP initiative, which helps 482,000 students aspire to and prepare for college -- the second year of this new initiative. Expanded Head Start: It provides a $607 million increase for Head Start to serve an additional 44,000 children. Total funding is $5.3 billion -- 90 percent higher than 1993.

Hispanic Education Agenda: It provides a $436 million in increases for a number of education programs that help to improve the educational achievement and high dropout rates of Latino students. Largest Pell Grant Maximum Award Ever: Increased to $3,300 -- a 43 percent increase since 1993.

Fighting Crime, Drugs, and Guns. To keep crime at record low levels, President Clinton fought for important investments in the budget that will build on the Administration's successful community policing initiative.

More Police for Our Streets: The bill contains full funding for the first installment toward the President's goal to fund the hiring of up to 50,000 more police officers for our Nation's streets by 2005. The initiative builds on the President's successful COPS program that has already funded 100,000 police officers to help keep America's streets safe.

Investing in a Cleaner Environment. President Clinton and Vice President Gore won significant gains for the environment in the fiscal year 2000 budget, including new resources to combat water pollution, protect wildlife, address global warming, and preserve precious lands across the country. At the same time, the President and Vice President forced Congress to drop or substantially modify dozens of anti-environmental riders that would have rolled back hard-won environmental safeguards and benefited special interests at the expense of our public lands.

Preserving Our Lands Legacy: The President and Vice President won $651 million for Lands Legacy, a 42 percent increase for this historic initiative that strengthens federal efforts to preserve natural treasures and provides communities with new resources to protect local green spaces.

Maintaining America's Global Leadership . The Republican Congressional budget would have turned its back on America's leading role in the world by not providing funds for peace in the Middle East, leadership at the United Nations, economic development in the poorest countries, and efforts to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. The President fought for and secured victories to strengthen America's leading role in the world:

Promoting Peace in the Middle East: The Congress fully funded the President's $1.8 billion request arising from the Wye River Agreement. Maintaining Leadership at the United Nations: In an agreement reached between the President and Congress, the United States will now keep its UN vote, encourage needed reforms at the UN, and repay $926 million. Debt Relief for Poor Countries: The bill provides $110 million to fund reduction of debts owed to the U.S. government by the poorest developing countries.

Reducing the Nuclear Weapons Threat and Building Democracy in Russia and the Newly Independent States: The final bills provide $1.5 billion across the government to fund important efforts in Russia and the Newly Independent States to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons, to promote democracy, private enterprise, and free speech, and to generally assist in the transition these countries are undertaking. More Funding for President Clinton's Child Labor Initiative: The Congress fully funded the President's $30 million request - maintaining the 10-fold increase from the $3 million funding in 1998.

Progress on the New Markets Initiative: In his State of the Union, President Clinton launched an effort to bring more private investment to all areas of the United States. The President and Congressional Leaders have agreed to work together to enact bipartisan legislation to help spur economic development in urban and rural communities that have not shared fully in the benefits of the nation's strong economy. The New Markets initiative enjoys bipartisan support.

Funding America's Private Investment Companies (APICs): Provides $20 million of funding for APICs (subject to authorization), a key element of the President's New Markets Initiative, that would leverage $800 million of new investment in underserved areas. New Markets Venture Capital Program: Provides, subject to authorization, $16.5 million in funding for New Market Venture Capital Firms (NMVCs) and BusinessLINC to bring equity capital and technical assistance to small businesses in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

Addressing Health Care. The President won a $34.5 billion investment in health programs, 11.7 percent above the FY 1999 enacted level. These investments will strengthen the public health infrastructure, provide critical prevention and treatment services to individuals with mental illness, invest in pediatric training programs, and advance biomedical research with a historic investment of $2.3 billion. The bill also invests $16 billion over 5 years to address the flawed policy and excessive payment reductions resulting from the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997. It lifts caps on therapy services, increases payments for very sick nursing home patients, restores teaching hospital funding, and extends coverage of drugs that prevent rejection of organ transplants, among others.

A Strong Research and Development Agenda: The bill includes an unprecedented commitment to key civilian research. The bill increases the President's "21(superscript: st) Century Research Fund" for civilian research programs by more than $3 billion.

National Science Foundation: A 6.6 percent increase in support for science and engineering research and education. National Institutes of Health: Provides $2.3 billion, a 15 percent increase over FY 1999 funding levels, to build on the President's commitment to biomedical research.
Information Technology: The bill includes more than $80 million in funding for the Next Generation Internet and $235 million for the Administration's "Information Technology for the 21(superscript: st) Century" initiative.

Much Work Still Left To Do

Passing Common Sense Gun Legislation: Congress must pass a bipartisan juvenile crime bill that includes strong gun measures to: close the gun show loophole; require child safety locks for handguns; ban the importation of large capacity ammunition clips; and bar violent juveniles from owning guns for life.
Passing a Strong, Enforceable, Patients' Bill of Rights: During the past two years, the President has exercised his executive authority to extend critical patient protections to over 85 million Americans. But ultimately, the only way to ensure that all Americans in all plans have basic consumer protections is to enact a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights.

Raising the Minimum Wage: The Congress has failed to pass a clean, straightforward bill to increase the minimum wage by $1 over two years -- a step that would simply restore it to the 1982 inflation-adjusted level. Instead, the Senate attached the minimum wage increase to fiscally irresponsible tax giveaways for special interests. Strengthening Social Security: The Republicans have proposed so-called "lockbox" legislation that would not add a single day to the life of Social Security; the President has asked them to join him in using the benefits of fiscal discipline to extend the life of Social Security from 2034 to 2050.

Expanding Federal Hate Crimes Laws: The President and Vice President have called for a bill that would make it easier to prosecute crimes based on race, color, religion and national origin; and that would also include crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability. Modernizing and Strengthening Medicare: Although members of both parties joined the President and Vice President in the effort to adjust Medicare health care provider payments, Congress failed to address the growing challenges that Medicare faces. These challenges include modernizing it with a long overdue, optional prescription drug and giving Medicare the adequate resources and tools to be as efficient as possible.