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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily                        <Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly 

 
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|                                                                         |
|                                                                         |
| PRESIDENT CLINTON: CONGRESS PREPARING TO LEAVE TOWN WITHOUT PASSING AN  |
|      EDUCATION BUDGET & ADDRESSING UNFINISHED BUSINESS FOR AMERICA      |
|                            November 2, 2000                             |
|                                                                         |
|-------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Today, as Congress prepares to leave until after the election, President
Clinton will express his concern that Congress has chosen to leave town
without finishing its work for the American people.  He will emphasize his
continuing commitment to work with Congress whenever it returns.  Since the
beginning of September, President Clinton has signed 12 continuing
resolutions to extend Congress?s budget deadline.  Nonetheless, Congress
has been unwilling or unable to finish its work.  Just this week, it
retreated from an agreement on the education budget and six of the 13
budget bills still are not yet law.  When Republicans have worked with the
Administration and congressional Democrats, we have made progress.  Working
together, we have passed bills for veterans, housing, agriculture,
transportation, and foreign operations; permanent normal trade relations
with China; the Older Americans Act; the Ryan White CARE Act, and other
important legislation.

CONGRESS WILL LEAVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS BEHIND.  Despite bipartisan
agreement on many important issues, Congress has not finished a budget or
acted on other significant priorities for the American people.  Today,
Congress is leaving without having acted on many of President Clinton?s key
proposals.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT PASSED AN EDUCATION BUDGET THAT INVESTS MORE IN AND
DEMANDS MORE FROM AMERICA?S SCHOOLS.  Earlier this week, the Clinton-Gore
Administration had reached consensus with Republican members of the
appropriations and education committees that focus on our children .
However, this landmark achievement in education is now in jeopardy.
Congressional leaders backed away from the agreement after special
interests objected to an unrelated provision regarding repetitive stress
injuries in the workplace.  If important education initiatives continue to
be funded by continuing resolutions, rather than by the bipartisan
agreement renounced by the Republican leadership, then:
?  Nearly 70,000 low-income children will be denied the opportunity to
participate in Head Start in preparation for a lifetime of     learning;
?  Nearly 650,000 children will be denied smaller classes;
?  School districts will not receive $1 billion to make urgently needed
repairs to school facilities;
?  About 850,000 children will be denied safe, enriching after-school
learning opportunities;
?  Nearly 15,000 school districts will not receive $250 million to improve
teacher quality and help put a qualified teacher in every classroom;
?  Children in low-performing schools would be denied the benefits of
stronger accountability and an additional  $116 million investment in
proven measures to increase achievement;
?  Over 6 million special education students would be denied an additional
$1.6 billion in federal help;
?  About 600,000 disadvantaged students would be unable to participate in
the GEAR UP college preparation initiative; and
?  Nearly 4 million needy college students would receive smaller Pell grant
scholarships because the maximum award will not increase from $3,300 to
$3,800.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT WORKED FOR COMMON GROUND ON TAX CUTS FOR MIDDLE-CLASS
FAMILIES. President Clinton has repeatedly called for bipartisan
negotiations on tax legislation.  Last week, the President proposed a
compromise package that reflected the priorities of both parties.
Nonetheless, Congress moved forward with a bill that ignores key priorities
for America and is now leaving town before finishing its work.  As a
result, the following pieces of legislation are unresolved:
?  Bipartisan Proposals to Improve Long-Term Care and Health Care Coverage.
The Republican leadership turned its back on a bipartisan proposal, which
was endorsed by the President, to couple his $3,000 tax credit for people
with long-term care needs or their caregivers with the Republican deduction
for private long-term care insurance premiums with appropriate consumer
protections.  This initiative, which was endorsed by both AARP and the
Health Insurance Association of America, was rejected and replaced by a
regressive tax exemption that provides low-income families with half the
benefit of the credit.  Similarly, the Republican tax bill maintains the
deduction for individual health insurance premiums and rejected the
President's proposal to convert it to a more equitable refundable tax
credit with appropriate insurance reforms.  It also failed to incorporate
the bipartisan FamilyCare plan that would efficiently and effectively
expand affordable health insurance to over 4 million uninsured parents.
?  Build and Modernize 6,000 Schools.  President Clinton has urged Congress
to pass the Nancy Johnson-Charles Rangel legislation to create $25 billion
in school modernization bonds.  That important bill has 231 sponsors, a
bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives.  House leaders have
consistently prevented a vote on Representatives Johnson and Rangel?s
effort to add school modernization bonds to the Education Savings and
School Excellence Act (H.R. 7).  President Clinton has also urged Congress
to pass legislation for tribal bonds to fund construction of schools
serving Native Americans.
?  New Markets and Renewal Communities.  The bipartisan agreement between
the President and Speaker Hastert would spur business investment in our
nation's economically distressed urban and rural communities.  During this
time of unparalleled prosperity, we should make sure that no community is
left behind.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT RAISED THE MINIMUM WAGE.  In his 1998 State of the
Union Address, the President called for raising the minimum wage by $1 over
two years to help more than 10 million workers make ends meet.  At a time
when we are experiencing the longest economic expansion in history, the
proposed $1 increase would return the real value of the minimum wage to the
level it was in 1982.  Full-time workers would receive an annual raise of
about $2,000 a year, enough to pay for nearly seven months of groceries or
five months of rent.  So far, Republican delay on this legislation has cost
minimum wage workers over $1,000.
?  Over the opposition of Republican leaders, the House passed a $1
increase in the minimum wage by a 282-143 vote on March 9, 2000, with 78
Republicans supporting the measure.
?  In the Senate, a clean measure to increase the minimum wage over two
years had the support of four Republicans, but failed in a close vote on
November 9, 1999.  So far, Senate Republican leaders have refused
reasonable compromises that would allow the minimum wage to pass.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT PROVIDED LONG-OVERDUE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT FOR
MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES.  Three out of five Medicare beneficiaries have
inadequate or no prescription drug coverage.  The President has proposed a
voluntary, affordable Medicare prescription drug benefit for all
beneficiaries.  In addition, he proposed to make Medicare more efficient
and competitive, to protect the Medicare surplus from being spent on tax
cuts and other priorities, and to add resources to the Trust Fund,
extending its life through 2030.  The Republican Congress failed to act on
any of these policies.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT PASSED A MEANINGFUL PATIENTS? BILL OF RIGHTS. A
bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress supports a strong,
enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights, similar to the bipartisan
Norwood-Dingell plan that passed the House overwhelmingly by a vote of
275-151 over a year ago.  However, the Senate Republican leadership
continues to support an alternative that leaves over 135 million people
without protections and doesn?t assure that plans are held accountable when
they make decisions that harm patients.
?  On October 7, 1999, a bipartisan coalition led by Reps. Charlie Norwood
(R-GA) and John Dingell (D-MI) and including 68 Republicans won passage of
the Patients? Bill of Rights Act in the House.
?  On July 15, 1999, the Senate passed weaker legislation that covered only
one-third as many Americans in HMOs.  It rejected a stronger version on
June 8, 2000, despite the support of four Republican senators.  With the
addition of Democratic Senator Zell Miller from Georgia, a majority of both
the House and Senate now supports the Dingell-Norwood plan.
?  More than a year after the House passed its bill, the conference
committee has still not delivered strong bipartisan legislation.  Speaker
Hastert originally appointed conferees who opposed the bill and delayed
conference committee action until this year.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT PASSED BIPARTISAN MEDICARE / MEDICAID PLAN.  The
Republican leadership dedicated 43 percent of its ten-year spending to
unjustifiably large HMO payment increases with no meaningful accountability
provisions.  At the same time, it rejected affordable, bipartisan policies
to expand coverage to vulnerable populations like uninsured children,
children with disabilities, people moving from welfare to work, legal
immigrants, and low-income elderly.  Despite the bipartisan support from 78
senators, the Republican leadership plan excludes a new Medicaid buy-in
option for children with disabilities that would ensure that families do
not have to choose between work and health care for their children.  It
rejected beneficiary proposals passed unanimously by the House Commerce
Committee that would extend health insurance to legal immigrant children
and pregnant women, improve Medicaid enrollment of uninsured children and
low-income seniors, and waive the waiting period for Medicare for people
with Lou Gehrig's Disease.  The Republican leadership bill also ignored
vulnerable provider provisions including more resources for rural
providers, teaching hospitals, home health providers, and others.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT ENACTED COMMON-SENSE GUN SAFETY PROTECTIONS.  Despite
a series of tragic shootings?in our nation's schools, places of worship,
day care centers, and workplaces?Congress has stalled passage of
common-sense gun safety legislation that passed in the Senate for over one
year.  During this time period, more than 30,000 Americans, including 10
children per day, lost their lives in gunfire.  Congress should save lives
by passing sensible gun safety measures to: close the gun show loophole;
require child safety locks for handguns; ban the importation of large
capacity ammunition clips; and bar violent juveniles from owning guns for
life.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT PASSED HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION.  There is no
justification for failing to pass hate crimes legislation this year, which
would enhance the Federal government's ability to prosecute violent crimes
motivated by race, color, religion, or national origin and would authorize
Federal prosecution of crimes motivated by sexual orientation, gender, or
disability.  There have been strong bipartisan votes in both the House and
Senate on expanded hate crime legislation:
?  On June 20, 2000, the Senate added hate crimes legislation to the
Department of Defense authorization bill by a 57-42 vote, with the support
of 13 Republicans.
?  On September 13, 2000, the House voted to retain hate crimes in that
bill, 232-192 with 41 Republicans.
?  However, Republican leaders stripped hate crimes before sending the
Defense bill to the President.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT REFORMED THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM. This year, the
Congress failed once again to adopt comprehensive, meaningful reform of our
campaign finance system.  In July, the President signed modest but
important reporting requirements to stop interest groups from using special
"527" tax-exempt status to hide their political spending, and he called on
Congress to continue working in a bipartisan fashion to pass comprehensive
campaign finance reform.  Unfortunately, Congressional leaders failed to
take the next step.  The American people want meaningful campaign finance
reform, and the Congress should not stand in their way.
?  On September 10, 1999, the House passed the bipartisan Shays-Meehan
reform plan with the support of 54 Republicans.
?  The Senate version of that bill has six Republican sponsors, including
Senator John McCain.  A majority of senators support it, but they haven?t
been allowed a clean vote.  The Senate has not debated the bill in over a
year.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT COMPLETED ITS WORK ON NATIONAL SERVICE.  In July, the
Senate health, education, labor and pensions committee passed a bipartisan
national service reauthorization bill, the Jeffords-Kennedy National and
Community Service Amendments Act of 2000.  Forty-nine of the 50 governors
wrote the Republican leadership to urge them to pass the reauthorization of
AmeriCorps and other critical national service programs this year.  General
Colin Powell has continually advocated for Congress to reauthorize this
critical bill that provides opportunities for young people to serve their
communities.  However, the Republican leadership did not bring the bill to
a vote, thus refusing to reaffirm and strengthen our nation?s commitment to
national service and build on the far-reaching benefits of the national
service program.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT INSISTED ON FAIRNESS FOR IMMIGRANTS.  The President
is committed to fairness for immigrants who have been in this country for
years, working hard and paying taxes, by enacting legislation addressing
injustices under our immigration laws and restoring critical nutrition
assistance and health benefits for legal immigrants.   Despite bipartisan
support for these proposals, the Republican leadership proposal simply does
not go far enough to address these injustices and does nothing to restore
critical benefits for legal immigrants.

?    CONGRESS HAS NOT PROTECTED CIVIL RIGHTS AND WORK FOR EQUAL PAY.
President Clinton requested a 13 percent increase to improve civil rights
enforcement, bringing the federal commitment to more than $1 billion per
year. This initiative provides resources for stepped-up civil rights
enforcement, education and outreach at the Departments of Justice,
Education, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Housing and Urban
Development.


                                 30-30-30


			


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