Compilation of Weekly Presidential Documents - Monday, September 23, 1996 ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v32; Issue n38 Remarks in Portland, Oregon

Monday, September 23, 1996


ISSN: 0511-4187; Volume v32; Issue n38


Remarks in Portland, Oregon. (Pres. Bill Clinton speech)(Transcript)

Total number of pages for this article: 5 FULL TEXT



� September 20, 1996



� Thank you. Good morning, Portland. Mayor Katz, Congresswoman Furse,

Tom Bruggere, Darlene Hooley, Mike Dugan. Thank you all for being here

with us. Madame Mayor and Congresswoman Furse, thank you for making us

feel so welcome in Portland again. Maybe I come back here so often

because I like it. I must say, I have to hand it to the Vice President.

I didn't think anyone could keep a secret in Washington. Al Gore cut a

book deal with a book full of secrets. It never leaked. Now he's telling

it all, and he wrote the book under his own name. Al Gore is doing for

the Federal Government what he did for the macarena. He is removing all

the unnecessary steps. [Laughter] Now, he's got some funny names here.

He calls for performance-based organizations - that's sort of a boring

title. I think we ought to scrap that title and substitute something

more exciting, like "Trailblazers." Would you like that? [Applause]



� I want to thank Tipper Gore and the First Lady, too, for some things

they've already talked about. You know, we've worked very hard to

improve the health care of the American people. That's a big part of

moving into the 21st century, to immunize more children, to increase

medical research, to speed the movement of drugs to market. In only 4

years we've more than doubled the life expectancy of people with HIV and

AIDS in just 4 years, as an example. Finally, we got the Congress to

pass the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill that says to 25 million Americans, you

can't lose your health insurance or have it taken away anymore just

because someone in your family gets sick or because you change jobs.



� And yesterday we had three big victories. Congress did, as Hillary

said, answer our call to tell the insurance companies that newborns and

their mothers deserve at least 48 hours in the hospital. They can't be

kicked out 8 hours after delivery anymore.



� Congress responded to the work that Tipper Gore has been doing for

years and years and years, in a bipartisan fashion that also included

Senator Domenici from New Mexico in saying that it is time to ensure

that people who need treatment for mental illness get the treatment they

need also and without discrimination.



� And finally, I want to say a special word of thanks to the work that

the Congress did in our continuing efforts to be fair to veterans and

their families who have served us in foreign theaters and may have been

exposed to dangerous chemicals, when they provided health benefits to

veterans whose children are born with spina bifida. Those were three

great things to do for America yesterday, and I thank the Congress for

doing it.



� I'm happy to be back in Portland. I'll never forget what I saw here

last spring when I visited during the floods: the true spirit of

America, the pioneering spirit is alive and well in Oregon. But I was

glad to hear the mayor remind me that you have 10 bridges here, and in

Oregon you want to build a bridge to the 21st century.



� In 1992, the people of Oregon supported the Vice President and me when

we came here and asked you to help us to put people first and to change

the direction of our country, to put America on the right track and to

change the way Government works, to make sure that when we enter the

21st century, as I look out at this sea of people, that every one of you

will enter a century with the American dream alive and well for every

person who is willing to work for it, that we will enter a century in

which America is coming together and embracing its diversity, not being

torn apart by it as so many other nations are all around the world, and

that we would not run away from our responsibilities to be the strongest

force for peace and freedom and security in the world.



� The best days of this country are still ahead of us if we build the

right bridge to the 21st century. Now, in this election season you will

hear a lot of rhetoric back and forth and maybe a lot of

characterizations of people's motives. I've tried to stay away from

that. I don't want to demean anybody. I want this to be an election

season of ideas, not insults. I want to ask, what are we going to do,

not who can we blame. How are we going to build this country and move it




� But I must say, there are some facts that you can't get around. It is

a fact that we have 10 1/2 million more jobs; the lowest unemployment

rate in 7 1/2 years; almost 4 1/2 million new home owners; the deficit

going down for all 4 years of an administration for the first time since

before the Civil War, in the 1840's; a record number of exports; record

small businesses. On October 1st, ten million hard-working Americans

will get an increase in their minimum wage. Every small business in the

country has been made eligible for a tax cut when they buy health

insurance or if they invest more money in their business to hire more

people and grow .and help America grow. The welfare rolls are down by

1.8 million. Child support collections are up by 40 percent - $3

billion. The drinking water is safer. The air is purer. Our food

standards are much higher. As the Vice President said, just in the last

week we have reached an agreement to restore the salmon on the Columbia

River and an agreement to protect the old growth forest in Oregon and

Washington. Just a couple of days ago I was honored to proclaim a

1.7-million-acre national monument, the Grand Staircase-Escalante

Monument in southern Utah. We are moving this country in the right




� And now we have to continue to build that bridge to the future, a

bridge where there is opportunity for all, starting with the best

education for every single American. We ought to be lifting our teachers

and our students up, not running our teachers down, as some are doing in

this election season.



� I ask you to join me in helping every classroom to be connected to the

information superhighway by the year 2000. If every classroom is tied

into the Internet and the World Wide Web, we can make sure for the first

time in history that every child in America, in the poorest rural

district, in the most devastated economic areas of the country, in

isolated inner-city districts, in middle class and wealthy districts,

that altogether, at the same time, have access to the same information

in the same way. It's never happened before. Will you help us make it

happen in the future? [Applause]



� I ask you to help me in opening the doors of college education to all

Americans who want to go. In the past 4 years, we passed the AmeriCorps

program, and 50,000 young Americans have built communities like Portland

and earned their way through college. We've revolutionized the student

loan program to lower the cost and improve the repayment terms so that

anybody could borrow the money and know they wouldn't go broke trying to

pay it back. But now we have to do more. I propose to make a college

education universal by doing three things.



� Number one, saying you can save in an IRA for years and years and then

withdraw from that IRA tax-free if you're using it to pay for a college

education or a health emergency or buying a first home.



� Number two, saying we're going to make a community college education,

at least 2 years of education after high school, just as common and

universal in 4 years as a high school diploma is today. We need that to

start the new century. And here's how we're going to do it. We're going

to say to Americans, if you want to go to community college for 2 years,

all you have to do is work hard, make your grades. You can take off your

taxes, dollar for dollar, the tuition cost at the typical community

college in the United States.



� And number three, we want to say to all students of whatever age in

whatever college in America, undergraduate and graduate, you ought to be

able to deduct from your taxes the cost of college tuition up to $10,000

a year.



� I want to build a bridge to the 21st century that keeps this economy

going strong. That means we have to pay for those tax cuts and the tax

cuts for childrearing, and for buying and selling your home in the

context of a balanced budget that continues to invest in education, in

the environment, in research, in technology, and protect our obligations

through Medicare and Medicaid. We can do that if you will help us build

that bridge to the 21st century



� The crime rate has come down for 4 years in a row, the juvenile crime

rate is starting to drop, the juvenile murder rate has come way down. We

are moving in the right direction, but I want to keep going. I want to

rebuff those in the Congress who are trying to stop us from putting

100,000 police on the street. We're halfway home, I want to finish the




� I want to see us - we passed the Brady bill. Now, we ought to extend

the Brady bill. Sixty thousand felons, fugitives, and stalkers have not

gotten handguns because of the Brady bill. I think we ought to extend it

to people who beat up their spouses and their children. They shouldn't

have handguns either.



� I want to build a bridge to the 21st century where we have a stronger

American community. I am very proud that the first bill I signed after

becoming President was the family and medical leave law. Over the strong

opposition of the leaders of the other party, we passed it. They said it

would hurt the economy. They said it would weaken business. They said it

would burden small business.



� Well, 4 years later, we have 10 1/2 million new jobs, record numbers

of new small businesses, record numbers of new businesses owned by women

and minorities, and 12 million families have taken advantage of the

family and medical leave law, to have a child born, to tend to a sick

parent, a sick child, a sick spouse. I'm telling you, we're stronger

because we did that. And I want to see us expand that.



� I believe we ought to expand the family and medical leave law to say

that parents should be able to go see their children's teachers on a

regular basis and be able to take their kids and their folks to the

doctor without losing their jobs. It won't hurt the economy, we'll have

a stronger economy when people can care for their family members.



� And finally, we have a lot of work to do in the environment to build

the strong American community. Let me just mention one thing. We have 10

million children still living within 4 miles of a toxic waste site, even

though we've cleaned up more of them in 3 years than were cleaned up in

the 12 years before we took office. If you will give us 4 more years,

we'll clean up 500 more, so we can say our children are growing up next

to parks not poison. Will you help us build that bridge to the 21st




� Now, let me tell you the reason we decided to do this reinventing

Government announcement here is because Oregon and particularly the city

of Portland have led the way in proving you can have a Government that

actually works for people, that inspires confidence, that gets results.



� When we took office, the deficit was $290 billion a year and going

higher. We had the slowest job growth rate since the Great Depression.

You have cheered for the achievements of the administration. You have

cheered for the things we want to do. We cannot do these things, and we

could not have achieved what has been done in the last 4 years had it

not been for the leadership of the Vice President and our determination

to give you a Government that costs less and does more. That's what

reinventing Government does. It makes it possible for us to do the other

things that you have cheered for, that you are working for here today.



� And so I say to you, this book the Vice President gives me today is a

book that Americans ought to be interested in. It says we're bringing

common sense to Government. In everything from hiring people to buying

things, we've eliminated double talk and bureaucracy.



� Do you know when I became President, if you wanted to buy - if a

Government agency wanted to buy a $4 stapler, they had to do $50 worth

of paperwork. Now we can buy a $4 stapler for $4. That's $46 we can

spend on Head Start programs, on environmental protection, on investing

in medical research.



� The second thing we're doing is serving people better. We have ended

the era when people could run for office, desperate to be in Government,

by just bad-mouthing Government. A lot of our friends on the other side

have amazed me; they bad-mouth and bad-mouth and bad-mouth the

Government, but they can't bear to live outside of it.



� We have proved that you can make Government work. One woman from

Sacramento was so overwhelmed by the fast and friendly service she got

from the Social Security office, she wrote to tell us it left her, and I

quote, "dazed and confused." She could not believe that her Government

would do anything that well.



� Well, we're doing a lot of things that well. The direct student loan

program cuts the cost of college loans, but improves the repayment

terms, says you can only be required to pay it back as a percentage of

your income. So go on and borrow the money and go to college and give

yourself a better life.



� The SBA loan program, which has helped us to start a record number of

small businesses, has been cut down to one page. And we have

dramatically increased loans to women and minority business owners

without undermining the quality. We've proved that we can diversify

educational opportunities and economic opportunities and achieve

excellence in both.



� At the Department of Housing and urban Development, Henry Cisneros has

managed to cut about $1,000 off the closing costs for the average

first-time home buyers and, in a time of budget cuts, to initiate

programs that decrease homelessness in communities all across America.

We can make this Government work for you, and we're determined to do it.



� Wherever they have been wiling to do it, we've used businesses as

partners. After all, what we want is cleaner air, cleaner water, safer

food. We don't want punishment. If government and business can work as

partners, we want to do it.



� And we want to be partners with communities. That's what Oregon is all

about. Let me tell you, as you think about welfare reform, the

partnership that the United States has had with Oregon and with the city

of Portland can be a model for how we can make welfare reform work. I

signed that bill because it has a new bargain for people on welfare. It

says, we'll continue to have a national guarantee for health care, for

nutrition for children. If you go to work, we'll spend more than ever on

child care. But we're going to give the money that used to be in the

welfare check to the States so they can develop community-based systems,

not only to give income to people but to move able-bodied people into

the work force.



� The only way that can be done is if there is a community-based system

where people are committed to going out and challenging employers and

saying, okay, we'll give you some help to do it, but you've been cussing

the welfare system all these years, now hire these people, give them a

job. We'll support them with child care and education. That has to

happen in the communities of America, and we trust Portland to do it. We

trust Oregon to do it. You can lead America's way in doing it.



� So yes, reinventing Government means doing more efficient things. It

means doing better things. It means doing with less. It also means

improvements in Medicare and Medicaid, in our educational programs, in

our support for small business, in our environmental protection. It

means improvements in our national parks, not selling them off, and it

means help in emergencies.



� I want to say that one of my proudest achievements as President is

reforming the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It has become such a

disaster itself that Congress even considered abolishing it. But as

Portland, as Oregon, as Washington State saw during the flood, as

California saw in earthquakes and fires and floods, as we saw in the

Middle West where they had a 500-year flood and in the hurricanes along

the Eastern Coasts of America, we have an Emergency Management Agency

today that works with people on the ground and helps people and helps

communities to rebuild their lives. That is something that is worth

fighting for.



� So, I want to ask you to support us in this effort. I want you to know

that when we balance the budget in 2002, we're still going to be

spending more money on education and research and protecting the

environment. So we're going to have to have a smaller and more

productive Government. We're going to have to privatize organizations

that can now work better in the private sector, like Sallie Mae. We've

got the direct student loan program. They need to be able to do some

other things as well.



� We want hundreds of organizations to become performance-based, to be

trailblazers in increasing productivity and making their customers

happy. I don't want people to be dazed and confused if they're

well-served by the Government, like that lady in Sacramento was.



� Let me give you one example - very important in Oregon and every State

with a high-tech base. We want the patent office to become

performance-based. Today when an inventor applies for a patent, it takes

almost 600 days for the inventor to get it. When we get done, we'll be

able to give them those patents in 60 days, one-tenth of the time. That

means more progress for America, more new jobs, more advances in high




� And finally, we want to use technology to open Government to people

more. Today I want to announce that the White House home page, which

many of you have already used on the Internet - see that sign "Portland

wants Socks" - even my cat has a place on our home page. [Laughter] Now,

we're going to make it a one-stop gateway to Government service. From

now on, you can use the home page at the White House to apply for a

passport, ask about veterans' benefits, even to buy postage stamps.

Transactions, forms, information, it's all there. And it won't be like

waiting in a line. There are no lines online. This is an example of what

we can do to save money, serve you better, and free up money not only to

balance the budget but to invest in our children's future.



� If you want to build a bridge to the 21st century with a strong

economy, good schools,safe streets, a clean environment, healthy

children, successful families and communities, you must join us in this

commitment to say we can make our Government work for all the people.

Will you help us build that bridge in the next 6 weeks and 4 days?




� Thank you, and God bless you all.



� NOTE: The President spoke at 10:10 a.m. at Lownsdale Square. In his

remarks, he referred to Mayor Vera Katz of Portland; Senatorial

candidate Tom Bruggere; and House of Representative candidates Darlene

Hooley and Mike Dugan.



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