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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 1, 2000


Today the Department of the Treasury is announcing that the United States will pay off $216 billion of debt this year -- the largest debt pay down in American history. This will be the third consecutive year of debt reduction, bringing the three-year total to $355 billion.

This important news offers yet more evidence that our strategy of fiscal discipline, investing in people, and opening markets abroad is working. The debt quadrupled in the twelve years before I came into office and was projected to rise still further. As a result of the 1993 and 1997 budgets, and tough choices in each and every year, the debt is now $2.4 trillion lower than it was projected to be. As a result, interest rates are lower, leading to stronger investment and growth while saving money for American families.

We should not jeopardize the longest economic expansion in history with risky tax cuts that threaten our fiscal discipline. We should take advantage of this historic opportunity to use the benefits of debt reduction to extend the life of Social Security and Medicare and pay off the entire national debt by 2013 for the first time since Andrew Jackson was President. Lifting the burden of debt from our children and grandchildren is one of the most important investments in the future we can make.