President Clinton and Vice President Gore:
A Record of Leadership in Electronic Government and Technology
September 21, 2000
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have used the power of the
Internet to cut red tape and make government more responsive to the
needs of citizens. Today, as a result of the President and Vice
President's leadership, every Cabinet department has a web site to make
information and services available to the American people at the touch
of a button. Small businesses can get information on loans, parents can
find information about financial aid, and taxpayers can file their taxes
and find answers to their questions -- all on government web sites.
With the launch of FirstGov, all of the government's online resources
will be available and searchable at a single website. This new site
builds on the Clinton-Gore Administration's record of leadership in
expanding electronic government and fostering the growth of technology.
As the first Administration of the Internet Age, President Clinton and
Vice President Gore have worked to expand the use of technology in
schools, to bridge the digital divide and make technology available for
all Americans, to promote electronic commerce, and accelerate research
and development that will help create more high-paying jobs in the
LEADERSHIP TO CONNECT CHILDREN TO THE FUTURE
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have fought for investments in
technology training for teachers, modern computers in the classroom, and
high-quality education software. Technology in the classroom can make
it easier for parents and teachers to communicate, prepare our children
for the high-tech workplace of the 21st century, and help improve
student performance in all academic subjects. As a result of the
Clinton-Gore educational technology initiative:
The overall investment in education technology has increased from $23
million in 1993 to $769 million in FY 2000.
The number of classrooms connected to the Internet classrooms
connected to the Internet has increased from 3 percent in 1993 to 65
percent in 1999.
The "E-rate," proposed by the Vice President and passed as part of
the Telecommunications Act of 1996, is providing $2.25 billion in 20% -
90% discounts to connect schools and libraries to the Internet, with the
deepest discounts going to the poorest schools that need it most. Over
647,000 classrooms will be connected to the Internet as a direct result
of E-Rate discounts and, in part because of these efforts, 90 percent of
the poorest schools now have access to the Internet.
Grants supported by the Department of Education are training 400,000
new teachers to use technology effectively in the classroom. The
Clinton-Gore Administration's FY 2001 budget proposes doubling last
year's investment of $75 million to ensure that all new teachers
entering the workforce are computer literate and can integrate
technology into the curriculum.
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Currently, 80 percent of households with an income of $75,000 or above
have computers, compared to 16 percent of households earning $10,000 -
$15,0000. In addition to ensuring that all schools and libraries are
connected to the Internet, President Clinton and Vice President Gore
have also taken other steps to bridge the digital divide and create new
opportunity for all Americans:
Since 1992, the President and Vice President have tripled funding for
Community Technology Centers. The President's FY 2001 budget calls for
$100 million to create 1,000 Community Technology Centers that will
expand computer and Internet access in low-income urban and rural
The President and Vice President are supporting innovative
applications of information technology for low-income families through
the Department of Commerce. Examples include the use of telemedicine
for prenatal care, telementoring for at-risk youth, a national computer
network for local food banks, and distance learning for people who have
lost their jobs.
The Administration has challenged the private sector to develop new
business models for low-cost computers and Internet access -- to make
universal access at home affordable for all Americans.
President Clinton successfully mobilized major public and private
efforts bridge the digital divide in his April 2000 trip to East Palo
Alto, California; Shiprock, New Mexico; Chicago, Illinois; and rural
North Carolina. Over 400 companies and non-profit organizations signed
a "National Call To Action" to bring digital opportunity to youth,
families, and communities. The call to action set goals such as
ensuring that every child is technologically literate, and making home
access to the Internet as ubiquitous as the telephone.
Electronic commerce is making it easier for small businesses to reach
hundreds of millions of customers around the world. For consumers,
e-commerce can mean more choice, greater convenience, customized
products, and lower prices. President Clinton and Vice President Gore
have pursued a policy that allows electronic commerce to flourish by
eliminating unnecessary government regulations and relying on private
sector leadership whenever possible. The Administration has made
significant progress on many of its top e-commerce priorities:
President Clinton signed into law the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which
created a 3-year moratorium on Internet access taxes and taxes that
discriminate against e-commerce and established a commission to look at
the long-term tax issues raised by e-commerce.
The Clinton-Gore Administration won an agreement in the World Trade
Organization to place a temporary moratorium on duties on electronic
transmissions -- making cyberspace a "duty-free zone."
On June 30, 2000, the President signed the Electronic Signatures in
Global and National Commerce Act, which gives online contracts the same
force of law as paper contracts. Customers can finalize mortgages, sign
insurance contracts, or open brokerage accounts.
In October 1998, the President signed the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act, helping to protect America's intellectual property in
The President and Vice President have encouraged the private sector
to protect individual privacy through self-regulation, third-party
audits and enforcement mechanisms. In just over a year, the number of
commercial Internet sites with privacy policies has increased from 15
percent to 66 percent.
President Clinton signed the Children's Online Privacy Protection
Act, which requires commercial Web sites to get a parent's permission
before collecting personal information from minors. In May 1999, Vice
President Gore announced the Parents' Protection Page, an important new
commitment by Internet companies to give parents the resources to
protect their children from inappropriate material on the Internet and
the knowledge to supervise and guide their children's online activities.
The Administration is now working to provide easy access to grant and
procurement opportunities. This year, the federal government will award
roughly $300 billion in grants and buy $200 billion in goods and
services. Over the coming year, the Administration will make it
possible for people to go online and learn about the vast majority of
these procurements and grant opportunities through a simple process.
ACCELERATING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Today's Internet is an outgrowth of U.S. government-funded research in
the late 1960s (the ARPANET). To maintain America's technological edge,
it is critical that the government increases investment in long-term
research. That's why President Clinton and Vice President Gore have
fought for the "Next Generation Internet" - which is connecting
universities and national labs at speeds that are 1,000 times faster
than today's Internet. The FY 2001 budget invests $2.3 billion in the
Information Technology R&D program, which includes $89 million for the
Next Generation Internet. Every budget the Clinton-Gore Administration
has submitted to Congress has increased investments in research and
deployment, helping to develop the ideas that will be reflected in
productivity growth for decades to come.
CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION ONLINE FIRSTS
First Vice Presidential Town Hall: The Vice President became the
first nationally elected official to participate in a live, electronic
town meeting on June 13, 1994.
First Presidential Webchat: On November 9, 1999, President Clinton
took part in the first online chat between a sitting President and
citizens of the United States.
First Electronic Bill Signing: On June 30, 2000, the President signed
the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act with a
First Saturday Web Address: On June 24, 2000, President Clinton
brought the tradition of the Saturday Presidential Radio Address online
when he first announced that within 90 days, citizens would be able to
search all on-line resources offered by the federal government from
FIRSTGOV STRENGTHENS AMERICANS' CONNECTION TO GOVERNMENT
Today, exactly 90 days after his Web address announcement, the President
is launching FirstGov, a single point-of-entry to one of the largest and
most useful collection of web pages in the world. This cutting-edge
site will bring government closer to the American people, expanding the
reach of democracy and making government more responsive to citizens.
The FirstGov website will:
Make it faster and easier for citizens to locate government
information and services, allowing them to access government information
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Allow citizens to search for government information by topic, rather
than by agency.
Searches half a billion documents in less than one-quarter of a
Employs strong privacy standards to safeguard citizens' online
communications and transactions with the government.