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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 28, 2000


                        ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION AT
                            THE WHITE HOUSE
                           February 28, 2000

Today, President Clinton hosts his seventh annual White House meeting with the nation's governors, who are in Washington for the annual Winter Meeting of the National Governors' Association (NGA). The President, Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, Chair of NGA, and Maryland Governor Parris Glendening, Vice-Chair of NGA, will moderate a discussion on four topics that are of particular importance to the Governors and the States.

OIL PRICES -- WORKING TO ALLEVIATE THE IMPACT OF OIL PRICE HIKES. President Clinton has worked hard to soften the impact of rapidly increasing oil prices, which have risen to more than $30 a barrel in the past year. He will discuss with the Governors the things we have done and ways we can do more.

THE U.S.- CHINA WTO ACCESSION DEAL: A STRONG AGREEMENT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF AMERICA. The President will urge the governors to support his proposal to grant China permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR) based on the strong bilateral accession agreement that the United States and China signed in November. The States will benefit enormously from this agreement.

HEALTH CARE -- WORKING WITH THE STATES TO IMPROVE COVERAGE AND ACCOUNTABILITY. When he came into office, President Clinton made a commitment to work with the States to find ways to increase flexibility and Federal support in return for greater accountability in health care programs. The Clinton-Gore Administration and the states have worked together to: repeal the Boren amendment; eliminate time-consuming Federal waivers for Medicaid managed care and long term care expansions; pass and enact the $48 billion (over 10 years) expansion in children's health insurance; and include more flexibility in both the BBA and the Work Incentives Improvement Act to provide flexibility and funding for states to give people with disabilities the opportunity to maintain their Medicaid coverage when they go to work. The joint Federal/State effort has begun to pay dividends, but more work needs to be done:

GOVERNANCE IN THE NEW ECONOMY -- PROLONGING THE NATION'S ECONOMIC GROWTH, EXPANDING THE INFORMATION AGE The United States economy is in its 107th month of economic expansion -- the longest period of sustained growth in U.S. history. At the same time, America has created nearly 21 million new jobs since President Clinton and Vice President Gore came into office, enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years, the strongest economic growth in over three decades, the highest homeownership on record, and the lowest poverty rate in two decades.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore also have worked hard to keep America at the cutting-edge of the Information Revolution, and to ensure that the opportunities of the Information Age are available to all Americans. During the last seven years, they have fought to connect every classroom to the Internet, promote electronic commerce, bridge the "digital divide," and increase our investment in long-term research that will create high-tech, high-wage jobs. Today, more than 90 percent of schools have been connected to the Internet. More than 100 million Americans now have access to the Internet, and electronic commerce could reach $1.5 trillion by 2003 in the U.S. alone. During the last three years, the information technology industry has accounted for 1/3 of U.S. economic growth. President Clinton and the Governors will discuss areas where federal and state governments can work together to further the growth of information technology and ensure that all Americans have access to the Internet.