THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
President Clinton And Democratic Congressional Leaders: Focused On Getting The Job Done For The American People in 2000 January 5, 2000
Today, President Clinton meets with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt to reaffirm their common commitment to making progress on priority issues for the American people. Specifically, they will discuss a new expanded proposal on school construction and modernization. In addition, the President and Leaders will discuss a list of issues where there is unfinished business and where they can expect bipartisan progress in the coming year.
An Agenda For Progress In 2000
President Clinton And Democratic Congressional Leaders: Focused On Getting The Job Done For The American People 2000 January 5, 2000
Repairing, Renovating and Renewing Our Schools
It is incomprehensible that during one of the greatest periods of economic prosperity in our history, the Congressional Majority has refused to act on a tax proposal to provide for school construction and modernization. Many schools are crumbling. And in many other communities, new schools are needed to give exploding student populations a decent place to learn. This year, the President and Democrats are united in an effort to seek bipartisan support for measures aimed at dealing with this crisis in education.
Cutting Taxes While Maintaining Fiscal Discipline
Last year, the President's budget proposal included targeted tax cuts and a substantial tax cut to promote retirement savings as part of a framework to maintain fiscal discipline and extend the life of Social Security and Medicare. While the President's tax proposals are still being finalized, the President plans to announce a similar-sized targeted tax cut during his State of the Union speech later this month. The President's tax cuts will help people save for retirement, continue to reward work for hard-pressed families, encourage investment in poorer communities, help expand health coverage, and provide middle-class tax relief.
Modernizing Medicare, Including A Voluntary Prescription Drug Benefit
Three out of four seniors are without dependable, affordable prescription drug coverage. Last year, the President laid out a serious plan to reform and modernize Medicare, including the creation of a voluntary prescription drug benefit. In the coming year, the President and Democrats will continue to push for bipartisan Medicare reform that meets the health, demographic, and financing challenges of the 21st century.
Strengthening Social Security
Last year, the President put forth a specific proposal to use the benefits of fiscal discipline and debt reduction to strengthen Social Security, extending its solvency from 2034 to 2050. This would be a down payment on truly saving Social Security. The Republican so-called "lockbox" legislation would not add a single day to the life of Social Security. The President and Democratic Leaders will work again this year to enact legislation to truly strengthen Social Security.
Enacting A Real Patients' Bill Of Rights
Americans who receive their health care through managed care 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. Last year, the President and Democrats supported a real, bipartisan "Patients' Bill of Rights" bill that addressed all of these problems. That bill passed overwhelmingly in the House. In the Senate, Democrats unanimously rejected the unacceptably flawed Senate version of the bill. The President and Democratic Leaders will work to insure that a strong, enforceable, bipartisan, Patients' Bill of Rights is signed into law this year.
Passing Common Sense Gun Safety Legislation
After a number of tragic school shootings across America, the President and Democratic Leaders finally persuaded Republicans in the Senate to pass common-sense, bipartisan gun measures to keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals. Unfortunately, the House defeated similar gun safety provisions. This year, the President will work with Democratic Leaders to enact common-sense gun measures in Congress, like closing the gun show loophole. In addition, the President has made clear that he will search for other ways, including through Executive actions, to reduce gun violence.
Raising The Minimum Wage
We have the best economy in a generation. And yet there are too many families working full-time, 50 weeks a year that 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. Last year 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. The President and Democratic Leaders will work enact bipartisan legislation -- and defeat attempts to prevent a minimum wage hike through "poison pill" amendments by opponents.
Passing Legislation To Fight Hate Crimes
In 1998, almost 8,000 hate crime incidents were reported -- nearly one per hour. Since 1997, the President and Democratic Leaders have been working to pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. There is bipartisan support for the bill and broad public support. This year, the President and Democratic Leaders will work to insure that this measure in enacted and signed into law.