Commentary

A Summary of the Policy Initiatives Made by President Clinton in the State of the Union Address

January 28, 2000
  • “Again, I ask you to let people between 55 and 65 — the fastest growing group of uninsured — buy into Medicare.”
  • “And let’s give them a tax credit to make that choice an affordable one.”
  • “We must strengthen and modernize Medicare now. My budget includes a comprehensive plan to reform Medicare, to make it more efficient and competitive.”
  • “And it dedicates nearly $400 billion of our budget surplus to keep Medicare solvent past 2025;”
  • “… and, at long last, to give every senior a voluntary choice of affordable coverage for prescription drugs.”
  • “Last year, I proposed a $1,000 tax credit for long-term care. Frankly, that wasn’t enough. This year, let’s triple it to $3,000…”
  • “And we must make needed investments to expand access to mental health care.”
  • “Nothing does that better than the Earned Income Tax Credit, the EITC. Tonight, I propose another major expansion. We should reduce the marriage penalty for the EITC, making sure it rewards marriage just as it rewards work.”
  • “And we should expand the tax credit for families with more than two children to provide up to $1,100 more in tax relief.”

    COMPARABLE WORTH

    “We must do better by providing the resources to enforce present equal pay laws,”
  • “… training more women for high-paying, high-tech jobs,”
  • “… and passing the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

    HOUSING FOR ALL

    “In the past two years, I have proposed and Congress has approved 110,000 new housing vouchers — rent subsidies to help working families live closer to the workplace. This year, let us more than double that number.”

    CHILD CARE INITIATIVE

    “My child care initiative, before you now, along with funds already secured in welfare reform, would make child care better, safer and more affordable for another 400,000 children. I ask you to pass that.”

    EXPAND CHILD CARE TAX CREDIT

    “For hard-pressed middle-income families, we should also expand the child care tax credit.”
  • “We should make that tax credit refundable for low-income families.”

    RETIREMENT SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

    “That’s the idea behind so-called Individual Development Accounts. Let’s take that idea to a new level, with Retirement Savings Accounts that enable every low- and moderate-income family in America to save for retirement, a first home, a medical emergency, or a college education. I propose to match their contributions, however small, dollar for dollar, every year they save.”

    TAX CREDITS—BUSINESS

    “And to give a major new tax credit for any small business that provides a meaningful pension to its workers.”


    CHILD SUPPORT

    “I am proposing tough new measures to hold still more fathers responsible.”

    HELP FATHERS WITH CHILD-SUPPORT

    “My budget will help 40,000 fathers make the choices Carlos did.”

    RESPONSIBILITY AND CRIME

    100,000 COPS

    “I ask your continued support.”

    GUNS

    “I pray that his courage and wisdom will move this Congress to make common-sense gun safety legislation the very next order of business.”
  • “We must strengthen gun laws and…”
  • “…better enforce laws already on the books.”
  • “I propose to hire more federal…”
  • ” …and local gun prosecutors…”
  • ” … and more ATF agents to crack down on illegal gun traffickers and bad-apple dealers.”
  • “Now, specifically, I propose a plan to ensure that all new handgun buyers must first have a photo license from their state showing they passed the Brady background check and a gun safety course, before they get the gun. I hope you’ll help me pass that in this Congress.”
  • “And we must give law enforcement the tools to trace every gun — and every bullet — used in a crime in America.”

    SMART GUN TECHNOLOGY

    “I ask Congress to fund research in Smart Gun technology.”
  • “I also call on responsible leaders in the gun industry to work with us on smart guns and other steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands and keep our children safe.”

    MOVIE RATINGS

    “Therefore, I now ask the industry to accept the First Lady’s challenge — to develop a single, voluntary rating system for all children’s entertainment, one that is easier for parents to understand and enforce.”

    OPENING NEW MARKETS NEW MARKETS TAX CREDIT

    “Tonight, I propose a large New Markets Tax Credit…”
  • “… and other incentives to spur $22 billion in private-sector capital — to create new businesses and new investments in inner cities and rural areas.”

    EMPOWERMENT ZONES

    “We should also increase incentives to invest in them and create more of them.”

    COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BANKS

    “We must maintain our commitment to community development banks…” <<h3>COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT “… and keep the community reinvestment act strong so all Americans have access to the capital they need to buy homes and build businesses.”

    MISSISSIPPI DELTA VOTES

    “My budget includes a special $110 million initiative to promote economic development in the Mississippi Delta;”

    NATIVE AMERICANS

    “… and $1 billion to increase economic opportunity, health care, education and law enforcement for Native American communities.”

    FARMERS”We must work together to strengthen the farm safety net,”

    LAND CONSERVATION

    “… invest in land conservation,”

    BIO-BASED FUELS, PRODUCTS

    “… and create new markets by expanding our program for bio-based fuels and products.”

    DIGITAL DIVIDE

    “My budget ensures that all new teachers are trained to teach 21st Century skills…”
  • “… and creates technology centers in 1,000 communities to serve adults.”

    GLOBAL CHANGE AND AMERICAN LEADERSHIP

    “… which is why I ask Congress to finalize our groundbreaking African…”
  • “… and Caribbean Basin trade initiatives.”
  • “That is why Congress should support the agreement we negotiated to bring China into the WTO, by passing Permanent Normal Trade Relations as soon as possible this year.”
  • “A third challenge is to keep the inexorable march of technology from giving terrorists and potentially hostile nations the means to undermine our defenses. We must meet this threat: by making effective agreements to restrain nuclear and missile programs in North Korea,”
  • “… curbing the flow of lethal technology to Iran;”
  • “… preventing Iraq from threatening its neighbors;”
  • “… increasing our preparedness against chemical and biological attack;”
  • ” … protecting our vital computer systems from hackers and criminals;”
  • “… and developing a system to defend against new missile threats…”
  • ” … while working to preserve our Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.”
  • ” … ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”
  • ” … expanded aid…”

    DRUG WAR

    “I have proposed a strong two-year package to help Colombia win this fight…”

    FORFEITURE

    “And I will propose tough new legislation to go after what drug barons value most — their money.”

    HELP THIRD WORLD WITH DEBTS

    ” … we must do our part in the global endeavor to reduce the debts of the poorest countries so they can inest in education, health and economic growth — as the Pope and other religious leaders have urged. Last year, Congress made a down payment on America’s share. And I ask for your continued support.”

    AIDS IN AFRICA

    “My budget invests $150 million more in the fight against this and other infectious killers.”

    VACCINES

    “Today, I propose a tax credit to speed the development of vaccines for diseases like malaria, TB and AIDS.”
  • “… to pass a national security budget that keeps our military the best trained and best equipped in the world, with heightened readiness and 21st Century weapons;”
  • “… raises salaries for our service men and women;”
  • “… protects our veterans;”
  • “… fully funds the diplomacy that keeps our soldiers out of war;”
  • ” … and makes good on our commitment to pay our UN dues and arrears.”

    RESPONSIBILITY, OPPORTUNITY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION FUND

    “Tonight, I propose creating a permanent conservation fund to restore wildlife, protect coastlines, and save natural treasures from California redwoods to the Everglades.”

    TRANSIT

    “Tonight, we propose new funding for advanced transit systems…”
  • “We need more funding for saving open spaces in places of heavy development.”
  • “And we need more funding — this ought to have bipartisan appeal—we need more funding for helping major cities around the Great Lakes protect their waterways and enhance their quality of life. We need these things and I want you to help us.”
  • “To speed innovations in environmental technologies, I propose giving major tax incentives to businesses for the production of clean energy—”
  • “… and to families for buying energy-saving homes and appliances…”
  • “And on Congress to make more of our clean-energy technologies available to the developing world — creating cleaner growth abroad and new jobs at home.”

    THE OPPORTUNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

    “To accelerate the march of discovery across all disciplines of science and technology, my budget includes an unprecedented $3 billion increase in the 21st Century Research Fund, the largest increase in civilian research in a generation.”
  • “Last year, we proposed rules to protect every citizen’s medical records. This year, we will finalize those rules.”
  • “We have also taken the first steps to protect the privacy of bank and credit card statements and other financial records. Soon I will send legislation to the Congress to finish that job.”
  • “We must also act to prevent any genetic discrimination by employers or insurers.”
  • “We should help faith-based organizations do more to fight poverty and drug abuse and…”
  • “… help young people get back on the right track with initiatives like Second Chance Homes to help unwed teen mothers.”
  • “We should support Americans who tithe and contribute to charities, but don’t earn enough to claim a tax deduction for it. Tonight, I propose new tax incentives to allow low- and middle-income citizens to get that deduction.”
  • “We should do more to help new immigrants fully participate in the American community—investing more to teach them civics and English.”
  • “Without delay, we must pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act…”
  • “and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
  • “And we should reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.”
  • “Tonight, I propose the largest ever investment to enforce America’s civil rights laws.”