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                           December 15, 2000

                           FISCAL DISCIPLINE

The budget is a victory for President Clinton and Vice President Gore's stand for fiscal discipline. By balancing competing needs and maintaining fiscal discipline, the Fiscal Year 2001 budget continues the successful strategy that has fostered the longest economic expansion in the nation's history. America can stay on course to pay off the debt held by the public by 2012 for the first time since Andrew Jackson was president.


Over the past eight years, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have invested more in our schools and demanded more from them. The implementation of this approach has helped test scores rise. SAT and ACT scores have also risen in the 1990s and are now at the highest level in a quarter of a century, even as more minority, low-income, and limited English proficient students take these tests. More students than ever before are graduating from high school and enrolling in college. This year, President Clinton and Vice President Gore again delivered on their ambitious education agenda.


The number of children with parents who work outside of the home is higher than ever before. In 1996, three out of four mothers with young children worked outside of the home, compared to one in four in 1965. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, funding for child care has more than doubled. Still, many eligible children do not receive assistance. The Clinton-Gore Administration proposed, fought for, and won major components of a comprehensive child care initiative to address the struggles our nation's working parents face in finding child care they can afford, trust and rely on.


The President negotiated $35 billion in gross new investments over five years in Medicare, Medicaid, and S-CHIP beneficiaries and providers. He also won a $5 billion investment in public health programs with the Department of Health and Human Services, 16 percent above last year's level, to strengthen the public health infrastructure, provide critical prevention and treatment services to individuals with mental illness. Overall, the Health and Human Services budget increased by nearly $9 billion (or 22 percent) this year and $23 billion (or 90 percent) since 1993. The budget will advance biomedical research with a historic investment of $20.5 billion.


President Clinton and Vice President Gore made significant strides for the environment in the fiscal year 2001 budget that proposed a record $42.3 billion to protect our natural resources, communities and families -- an 11 percent increase over last year. The final budget includes increased funding for protection of America's parks, forests, green spaces, coastal areas and wildlife. The budget will provide Americans with increased resources for wild fire management, clean water and energy security. At the same time, the President and Vice President fought back numerous, anti-environmental riders that would have traded hard-won environmental safeguards for short-term special interest gains.


The President fought for important initiatives in his budget to help working families and ensure that all Americans can share in prosperity.


The United States is currently in the midst of the longest expansion in its history. The strength and duration of this expansion have helped bring economic opportunity to millions of people once cut off from the economic mainstream. However, too many urban and rural areas have not participated in this growth. Moreover, the President believes that parents who work hard and play by the rules should not have to raise their children in poverty.


Access to computers and the Internet and the ability to use this technology effectively are becoming increasingly important for full participation in America's economic, social and political life. Unfortunately, there is strong evidence of a "digital divide" -- unequal access to technology by income, education level, race, and geography. We also need to give people skills to use technology and to promote content and applications of technology that will help empower under-served communities.


For the seventh straight year, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have requested, and negotiated, increases in Federal funding for fundamental research. Increased investment in science and technology leads to economic growth, the creation of high-tech, high-wage jobs, cures for diseases, and a cleaner environment for future generations of Americans. The 21st Century Research Fund consists of the Federal government's long-term investments directed toward creating new knowledge and developing new technologies. In FY 2001, these investments will total $44.9 billion, an increase of nearly $5 billion (12 percent) over last year.


Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, crime has fallen to its lowest rate in a generation. The final budget proposes a series of measures to continue to make progress toward the goal of making America the safest big country in the world.


At the start of a new century, the United States is faced with new opportunities and new challenges as a global leader and the world's strongest force for peace and prosperity. American leadership has been instrumental in seizing new opportunities for peace, including reversing ethnic cleansing and restoring stability to the Balkans; ending bloodshed in Northern Ireland; brokering peace in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors; restoring democracy in East Timor; supporting Russia's transformation to democracy and free markets; and integrating China into the international community. U.S. leadership has also been decisive in meeting new challenges and combating new threats such as weapons proliferation, terrorism, and drug-trafficking.

The FY 2001 budget builds upon past success to advance America's leadership position in the world, funding a number of new initiatives designed seize the new opportunities and face the new challenges the 21st century presents.


Because the 1996 Farm Bill fails to sufficiently support farm family incomes when crop prices fall or natural disasters strike, President Clinton and Vice President Gore proposed counter-cyclical income assistance, crop insurance reform, a major farm conservation program initiative (much of which extends beyond 2002), and targeted assistance to certain segments of the farm and rural communities.


Other Clinton-Gore initiatives funded by the 2001 budget include: