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H.Doc.105-179 CANCELLATION OF DOLLAR AMOUNTS OF DISCRETIONARY BUDGET AUTHORITY ...


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105th Congress, 2d Session  - - - - - - - - - - House Document 105-178


 
                      STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  from

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

                   A REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE UNION


<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>


  January 27, 1998.--Message and accompanying papers referred to the 
 Committee on the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to 
                               be printed


To the Congress of the United States:
    Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of the 105th 
Congress, distinguished guests, my fellow Americans, since the 
last time we met in this Chamber, America has lost two patriots 
and fine public servants. Though they sat on opposite sides of 
the aisle, Representatives Walter Capps and Sonny Bono shared a 
deep love for this House and an unshakable commitment to 
improving the lives of all our people.
    In the past few weeks, they have both been eulogized. 
Tonight I think we should begin by sending a message to their 
families and their friends that we celebrate their lives and 
give thanks to their service to our Nation.
    For 209 years, it has been the President's duty to report 
to you on the State of the Union. Because of the hard work and 
high purpose of the American people, these are good times for 
America. We have more than 14 million new jobs. The lowest 
unemployment in 24 years. The lowest core inflation in 30 
years. Incomes are rising, and we have the highest 
homeownership in history. Crime has dropped for a record five 
years in a row and the welfare rolls are at their lowest level 
in 27 years. Our leadership in the world is unrivaled. Ladies 
and gentlemen, the state of our union is strong.
    But with barely 700 days left in the 20th Century, this is 
not a time to rest; it is a time to build, to build the America 
within our reach.
    An America where everybody has a chance to get ahead with 
hard work. Where every citizen can live in a safe community. 
Where families are strong, schools are good, and all our young 
people can go on to college. An America where scientists find 
cures for diseases from diabetes to Alzheimer's to AIDS. An 
America where every child can stretch a hand across a keyboard 
and reach every book ever written, every painting ever painted, 
every symphony ever composed. Where government provides the 
opportunity and citizens honor the responsibility to give 
something back to their communities. An America which leads the 
world to new heights of peace and prosperity.
    This is the America we have begun to build; this is the 
America we can leave to our children if we join together to 
finish the work at hand. Let us strengthen our Nation for the 
21st Century.
    Rarely have Americans lived through so much change, in so 
many ways, in so short a time. Quietly but with gathering 
force, the ground has shifted beneath our feet, as we have 
moved into an Information Age, a global economy, a truly new 
world.
    For five years now, we have met the challenge of these 
changes, as Americans have at every turning point in our 
history, by renewing the very idea of America: widening the 
circle of opportunity, deepening the meaning of our freedom, 
forging a more perfect union.
    We have shaped a new kind of government for the Information 
Age. I thank the Vice President for his leadership and the 
Congress for its support in building a government that is 
leaner, more flexible, a catalyst for new ideas. And most of 
all, a government thatgives the American people the tools they 
need to make the most of their own lives.
    We have moved past the sterile debate between those who say 
government is the enemy and those who say government is the 
answer. My fellow Americans, we have found a third way. We have 
the smallest government in 35 years, but a more progressive 
one. We have a smaller government, but a stronger Nation.
    We are moving steadily toward an even stronger America in 
the 21st Century. An economy that offers opportunity. A society 
rooted in responsibility. And a Nation that lives as a 
community.
    First, Americans in this Chamber and across our Nation have 
pursued a new strategy for prosperity: Fiscal discipline to cut 
interest rates and spur growth; investments in education and 
skills in science and technology and transportation to prepare 
our people for the new economy; new markets for American 
products and American workers.
    When I took office, the deficit for 1998 was projected to 
be $357 billion, and heading higher. This year, our deficit is 
projected to be $10 billion, and heading lower. For three 
decades, six presidents have come before you to warn of the 
damage deficits pose to our Nation. Tonight, I come before you 
to announce that the Federal deficit, once so incomprehensibly 
large that it had 11 zeros, will be simply zero.
    I will submit to Congress for 1999 the first balanced 
budget in 30 years. And if we hold fast to fiscal discipline, 
we may balance the budget this year, 4 years ahead of schedule. 
You can all be proud of that because turning a sea of red ink 
into black is no miracle. It is the product of hard work by the 
American people and of two visionary actions in Congress: the 
courageous vote in 1993 that led to a cut in the deficit of 90 
percent and the truly historic bipartisan balanced budget 
agreement passed by this Congress.
    Here is the really good news. If we maintain our resolve, 
we will produce balanced budgets as far as the eye can see. We 
must not go back to unwise spending or untargeted tax cuts that 
risk reopening the deficit. Last year, together, we enacted 
targeted tax cuts so that the typical middle class family will 
now have the lowest tax rates in 20 years.
    My plan to balance the budget next year includes both new 
investments and new tax cuts targeted to the needs of working 
families: for education, for child care, for the environment.
    But whether the issue is tax cuts or spending, I ask all of 
you to meet this test: approve only those priorities that can 
actually be accomplished without adding a dime to the deficit.
    Now, if we balance the budget for next year, it is 
projected that we will then have a sizable surplus in the years 
that immediately follow. What should we do with this projected 
surplus? I have a simple, four-word answer: save Social 
Security first.
    Tonight I propose that we reserve 100 percent of the 
surplus, that is every penny of any surplus, until we have 
taken all the necessary measures to strengthen the Social 
Security system for the 21st century. Let us say, let us say to 
all Americans watching tonight, whether you are 70 or 50 or 
whether you just started paying into the system, Social 
Security will be there when you need it.
    Let us make this commitment: Social Security first. Let's 
do that together.
    I also want to say that all the American people who are 
watching us tonight should be invited to join in this 
discussion, in facing these issues squarely and forming a true 
consensus on how we should proceed.
    We will start by conducting nonpartisan forums in every 
region of the country, and I hope that lawmakers of both 
parties will participate. We will hold the White House 
conference on Social Security in December, and one year from 
now I will convene the leaders of Congress to craft historic 
bipartisan legislation to achieve a landmark for our 
generation, a Social Security system that is strong in the 21st 
century.
    In an economy that honors opportunity, all Americans must 
be able to reap the reward of prosperity. Because these times 
are good, we can afford to take one simple, sensible step to 
help millions of workers struggling to provide for their 
families. We should raise the minimum wage.
    The information age is first and foremost an education age 
in which education must start at birth and continue throughout 
a lifetime.
    Last year from this podium I said that education has to be 
our highest priority. I laid out a ten-point plan to move us 
forward and urged all of us to let politics stop at the 
schoolhouse door. Since then, this Congress, across party 
lines, and the American people have responded in the most 
important year for education in a generation, expanding public 
school choice, opening the way to 3,000 new charter schools, 
working to connect every classroom in the country to the 
information superhighway, committing to expand Head Start to a 
million children, launching America Reads, sending literally 
thousands of college students into our elementary schools to 
make sure all our 8-year-olds can read.
    Last year I proposed and you passed 220,000 new Pell Grant 
scholarships for deserving students. Student loans are already 
less expensive and easier to repay. Now you get to deduct the 
interest. Families all over America now can put their savings 
into new tax-free education IRAs. And this year for the first 2 
years of college families will get a $1,500 tax credit, a Hope 
Scholarship that will cover the cost of most community college 
tuition. And for junior and senior year, graduate school and 
job training, there is a lifetime learning credit. You did that 
and you should be very proud of it.
    And because of these actions, I have something to say to 
every family listening to us tonight: Your children can go on 
to college. If you know a child from a poor family, tell her 
not to give up. She can go on to college. If you know a young 
couple struggling with bills, worried they won't be able to 
send their children to college, tell them not to give up. Their 
children can go on to college. If you know somebody who's 
caught in a dead-end job and afraid he can't afford the classes 
necessary to get better jobs for the rest of his life, tell him 
not to give up. He can go on to college.
    Because of the things that have been done, we can make 
college as universal in the 21st century as high school is 
today. And, my friends, that will change the face and future of 
America.
    We have opened wide the doors of the world's best system of 
higher education. Now we must make our public elementary and 
secondary schools the world's best as well by raising 
standards, raising expectations and raising accountability.
    Thanks to the actions of this Congress last year, we will 
soon have, for the very first time, a voluntary national test 
based on national standards in 4th grade reading and 8th grade 
math.
    Parents have a right to know whether their children are 
mastering the basics, and every parent already knows the key: 
good teachers and small classes. Tonight I propose the first 
ever national effort to reduce class size in the early grades. 
My balanced budget will help to hire 100,000 new teachers who 
have passed a State competency test. Now, with these teachers, 
listen, with these teachers we will actually be able to reduce 
class size in the first, second and third grades to an average 
of 18 students a class all across America.
    Now, if I have got the math right, more teachers teaching 
smaller classes requires more classrooms. So I also propose a 
school construction tax cut to help communities modernize or 
build 5,000 schools.
    We must also demand greater accountability. When we promote 
a child from grade to grade who hasn't mastered the work, we 
don't do that child any favors. It is time to end social 
promotion in America's schools.
    Last year, last year in Chicago, they made that decision, 
not to hold our children back but to lift them up. Chicago 
stopped social promotion and started mandatory summer school to 
help students who are behind to catch up. I propose, I propose 
to help other communities follow Chicago's lead. Let's say to 
them, stop promoting children who don't learn and we will give 
you the tools to make sure they do.
    I also ask this Congress to support our efforts to enlist 
colleges and universities to reach out to disadvantaged 
children starting in the 6th grade so that they can get the 
guidance and hope they need so they can know that they too will 
be able to go on to college.
    As we enter the 21st century, the global economy requires 
us to seek opportunity not just at home but in all the markets 
of the world. We must shape this global economy, not shrink 
from it. In the last 5 years we have led the way in opening new 
markets with 240 trade agreements that remove foreign barriers 
to products bearing the proud stamp ``Made in the USA''.
    Today, record high exports account for fully one-third of 
our economic growth. I want to keep them going, because that's 
the way to keep America growing and to advance a safer, more 
stable world.
    Now, all of you know, whatever your views are, that I think 
this is a great opportunity for America. I know there is 
opposition to more comprehensive trade agreements. I have 
listened carefully, and I believe that the opposition is rooted 
in two fears: first, that our trading partners will have lower 
environmental and labor standards which will give them an 
unfair advantage in our market and do their own people no 
favors even if there's more business; and, second, that if we 
have more trade, more of our workers will lose their jobs and 
have to start over.
    I think we should seek to advance worker and environmental 
standards around the world. I have made it abundantly clear 
that it should be a part of our trade agenda, but we cannot 
influence other countries' decisions if we send them a message 
that we're backing away from trade with them. This year I will 
send legislation to Congress and ask other nations to join us 
to fight the most intolerable labor practice of all: Abusive 
child labor.
    We should also offer help and hope to those Americans 
temporarily left behind by the global marketplace or by the 
march of technology, which may have nothing to do with trade. 
That's why we have more than doubled funding for training 
dislocated workers since 1993. And if my new budget is adopted, 
we will triple funding. That's why we must do more, and more 
quickly, to help workers who lose their jobs for whatever 
reason. You know, we help communities in a special way when 
their military base closes. We ought to help them in the same 
way if their factory closes.
    Again, I ask the Congress to continue its bipartisan work 
to consolidate the tangle of training programs we have today 
into one single GI bill for workers, a simple skills grant so 
people can, on their own, move quickly to new jobs, to higher 
incomes and brighter futures.
    Now, we all know in every way in life change is not always 
easy, but we have to decide whether we're going to try to hold 
it back and hide from it or reap its benefits. And remember the 
big picture here. While we've been entering into hundreds of 
new trade agreements,we've been creating millions of new jobs. 
So this year we will forge new partnerships with Latin America, Asia 
and Europe, and we should pass the new African Trade Act. It has 
bipartisan support.
    I will also renew my request for the fast track negotiating 
authority necessary to open more new markets, create more new 
jobs, which every President has had for two decades.
    You know, whether we like it or not, in ways that are 
mostly positive, the world's economies are more and more 
interconnected and interdependent. Today an economic crisis 
anywhere can affect economies everywhere. Recent months have 
brought serious financial problems to Thailand, Indonesia, 
South Korea and beyond.
    Now, why should Americans be concerned about this? First, 
these countries are our customers. If they sink into recession, 
they won't be able to buy the goods we'd like to sell them. 

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