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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 15, 2000


I am pleased that Congress and I have reached agreement on a budget for the coming year. It is a budget that is fiscally responsible, pays down the debt, and makes vital investments in our nation's future. In education, health care and community renewal, this budget provides more opportunity for more Americans than ever before.

First and foremost, this budget tops eight years of commitment to education with dramatic new investment in our nation's schools. This includes an historic $1.2 billion initiative to help renovate classrooms in thousands of school districts across the country. It includes the largest increases ever in funding for the Head Start program. It nearly doubles funding for after school programs -- the largest increase ever. It increases by 25 percent funding to meet our goal of hiring 100,000 new, highly-qualified teachers to reduce class size in the early grades. It dramatically expands our GEAR UP and TRIO programs to prepare young people for college. It increases the maximum Pell Grant to an all-time-high of $3750 -- part of the biggest expansion of college opportunity since the GI Bill. And it boosts accountability with more funding for teacher training and for turning around failing schools. With this budget, we have now increased funding for the Department of Education by 76 percent since 1993 -- and targeted that funding to programs that work.

Second, in this budget, we're also passing our historic bipartisan new markets and community renewal initiative -- the most significant effort ever to help hard-pressed communities lift themselves up through private investment and entrepreneurship. With the help of our New Markets tax credit, 40 strengthened empowerment zones and 40 renewal communities, this initiative will spur billions of dollars in private investment, and ensure that every American will share in nation's economic prosperity.

Third, this budget reaffirms our longstanding commitment to expand access to quality health care for all Americans. It includes a multi-billion dollar effort to provide low-income children, seniors and people with disabilities, and those leaving welfare for work, with health care coverage. It expands preventive benefits like cancer and glaucoma screenings for Medicare beneficiaries. It ensures quality health care services for those beneficiaries by investing approximately $30 billion in hospitals, home health agencies, hospices, nursing homes, and managed care plans. It will establish a new program to provide families caring for aging and ill relatives with essential support services, such as adult day care. It includes a new program to provide people with disabilities with community-based health care services. It increases funding for AIDS prevention, research, and treatment at home and abroad. It boosts support for graduate medical education at children's hospitals, and for food safety efforts. It includes new efforts to improve nursing home quality, and a down payment to eliminate racial health disparities. And it includes a historic $20.3 billion investment in biomedical research, nearly doubling since 1993 our investment in the National Institutes of Health.

Finally, this budget will allow nearly 700,000 immigrants who have worked, lived, and paid taxes in America for years to stay in the United States legally without fear of being separated from their families.

Every year since 1993, I have worked with Congress to craft fiscally responsible budgets that are true to our values and that invest in the capacity of the American people to seize the new opportunities of the 21st Century. This year's budget does the same -- by continuing to pay down the debt, and invest in education, research, health care and other priorities. I am confident that this budget will help keep our progress strong and our prosperity going in the years ahead.