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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 14, 2000


Today, the House of Representatives narrowly passed on a partisan vote the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. This legislation fails to address critical needs of the American people and short changes our efforts to help our students achieve higher standards in the classroom.

The House bill invests too little in our schools and demands too little from them. It fails to strengthen accountability and turn around failing schools, reduce class size, provide funds for emergency repairs and renovating aging schools, sufficiently expand after-school opportunities, help prepare low-income students for college through GEAR UP, and programs to improve teacher quality, and help bridge the digital divide. It underfunds child care and fails to adequately invest in Head Start. This bill also cuts funding for public health priorities, including mental health and substance abuse services, family planning, health care access for the uninsured, nursing home quality, family care-giver support, and infectious diseases.

In addition, the bill makes deep cuts in worker training programs and cuts programs that ensure safe and healthy workplaces, enforce domestic labor laws, and help address child labor abuses at home and abroad. Regrettably, the bill also includes language prohibiting the Department of Labor from finalizing its standard to protect the Nation's workers from ergonomic injuries.

A bill that fails to provide key resources for education, child care, worker training, and other priorities is unacceptable. If it were presented to me in its current form, I would veto it. I continue to hope my Administration can work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to develop a bill that strengthens our country's education system, adequately funds public health priorities, addresses the needs of our nation?s workers, and provides for other important national priorities.