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H.Doc.107-5 REPORT ON CONTINUED CONTRIBUTIONS IN SUPPORT OF PEACEKEEPING EFFORTS ...


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107th Congress, 1st Session - - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 107-1


 
               AN ADDRESS TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  FROM

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              TRANSMITTING

    THE TEXT OF REMARKS IN AN ADDRESS TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS

<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>


  February 28, 2001.--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 Congress: It is 
a great privilege to be here to outline a new budget and a new 
approach for governing our great country.
    I thank you for your invitation to speak here tonight. I 
want to thank so many of you who have accepted my invitation to 
come to the White House to discuss important issues. We are off 
to a good start. I will continue to meet with you and ask for 
your input. You have been kind and candid, and I thank you for 
making a new President feel welcome.
    The last time I visited the Capitol, I came to take an 
oath. On the steps of this building, I pledged to honor our 
Constitution and laws, and I asked you to join me in setting a 
tone of civility and respect in Washington. I hope America is 
noticing the difference. We are making progress. Together, we 
are changing the tone of our Nation's capital. And this spirit 
of respect and cooperation is vital--because in the end, we 
will be judged not only by what we say or how we say it, but by 
what we are able to accomplish.
    America today is a nation with great challenges--but 
greater resources. An artist using statistics as a brush could 
paint two very different pictures of our country. One would 
have warning signs: increasing layoffs, rising energy prices, 
too many failing schools, persistent poverty, the stubborn 
vestiges of racism. Another picture would be full of blessings: 
a balanced budget, big surpluses, a military that is second to 
none, a country at peace with its neighbors, technology that is 
revolutionizing the world, and our greatest strength, concerned 
citizens who care for our country and for each other.
    Neither picture is complete in and of itself. And tonight I 
challenge and invite Congress to work with me to use the 
resources of one picture to repaint the other--to direct the 
advantages of our time to solve the problems of our people.
    Some of these resources will come from government--some, 
but not all. Year after year in Washington, budget debates seem 
to come down to an old, tired argument: on one side, those who 
want more government, regardless of the cost; on the other, 
those who want less government, regardless of the need.
    We should leave those arguments to the last century and 
chart a different course. Government has a role, and an 
important one. Yet too much government crowds out initiative 
and hard work, private charity and the private economy. Our new 
governing vision says government should be active, but limited, 
engaged, but not overbearing.
    My budget is based on that philosophy. It is reasonable and 
it is responsible. It meets our obligations and funds our 
growing needs. We increase spending next year for Social 
Security and Medicare and other entitlement programs by $81 
billion. We have increased spending for discretionary programs 
by a very responsible 4 percent, above the rate of inflation. 
My plan pays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt, 
and then when money is still left over, my plan returns it to 
the people who earned it in the first place.
    A budget's impact is counted in dollars, but measured in 
lives. Excellent schools, quality health care, a secure 
retirement, a cleaner environment, a stronger defense--these 
are all important needs and we fund them.
    The highest percentage increase in our budget should go to 
our children's education. Education is my top priority and by 
supporting this budget, you will make it yours as well.
    Reading is the foundation of all learning, so during the 
next 5 years, we triple spending, adding another $5 billion to 
help every child in America learn to read. Values are 
important, so we have tripled funding for character education 
to teach our children not only reading and writing, but right 
from wrong.
    We have increased funding to train and recruit teachers, 
because we know a good education starts with a good teacher. 
And I have a wonderful partner in this effort. I like teachers 
so much, I married one. Please help me salute our gracious 
First Lady, Laura Bush.
    Laura has begun a new effort to recruit Americans to the 
profession that will shape our future: teaching. Laura will 
travel across America, to promote sound teaching practices and 
early reading skills in our schools and in programs such as 
Head Start.
    When it comes to our schools, dollars alone do not always 
make the difference. Funding is important, and so is reform. So 
we must tie funding to higher standards and accountability for 
results.
    I believe in local control of schools: we should not and we 
will not run our public schools from Washington. Yet when the 
Federal Government spends tax dollars, we must insist on 
results.
    Children should be tested on basic reading and math skills 
every year, between grades three and eight. Measuring is the 
only way to know whether all our children are learning--and I 
want to know, because I refuse to leave any child behind.
    Critics of testing contend it distracts from learning. They 
talk about ``teaching to the test.'' But let us put that logic 
to the test. If you test children on basic math and reading 
skills, and you are ``teaching to the test,'' you are teaching 
. . . math and reading. And that is the whole idea.
    As standards rise, local schools will need more flexibility 
to meet them. So we must streamline the dozens of Federal 
education programs into five and let States spend money in 
those categories as they see fit.
    Schools will be given a reasonable chance to improve, and 
the support to do so. Yet if they do not, if they continue to 
fail, we must give parents and students different options--a 
better public school, a private school, tutoring, or a 
charterschool. In the end, every child in a bad situation must be given 
a better choice, because when it comes to our children, failure is not 
an option.
    Another priority in my budget is to keep the vital promises 
of Medicare and Social Security, and together we will do so. To 
meet the health care needs of all America's seniors, we double 
the Medicare budget over the next 10 years.
    My budget dedicates $238 billion to Medicare next year 
alone, enough to fund all current programs and to begin a new 
prescription drug benefit for low-income seniors. No senior in 
America should have to choose between buying food and buying 
prescriptions.
    To make sure the retirement savings of America's seniors 
are not diverted to any other program--my budget protects all 
$2.6 trillion of the Social Security surplus for Social 
Security and for Social Security alone.
    My budget puts a priority on access to health care--without 
telling Americans what doctor they have to see or what coverage 
they must choose.
    Many working Americans do not have health care coverage. We 
will help them buy their own insurance with refundable tax 
credits. And to provide quality care in low-income 
neighborhoods, over the next 5 years we will double the number 
of people served at community health care centers.
    And we will address the concerns of those who have health 
coverage yet worry their insurance company does not care and 
will not pay. Together, this Congress and this President will 
find common ground to make sure doctors make medical decisions 
and patients get the health care they deserve with a Patients' 
Bill of Rights.
    When it comes to their health, people want to get the 
medical care they need, not be forced to go to court because 
they did not get it. We will ensure access to the courts for 
those with legitimate claims, but first, let us put in place a 
strong independent review so we promote quality health care, 
not frivolous lawsuits.
    My budget also increases funding for medical research, 
which gives hope to many who struggle with serious disease. Our 
prayers tonight are with one of your own who is engaged in his 
own fight against cancer, a fine representative and a good man, 
Congressman Joe Moakley. God bless you, Joe. And I can think of 
no more appropriate tribute to Joe than to have the Congress 
finish the job of doubling the budget for the National 
Institutes of Health.
    My New Freedom Initiative for Americans with Disabilities 
funds new technologies, expands opportunities to work, and 
makes our society more welcoming. For the more than 50 million 
Americans with disabilities, we must continue to break down 
barriers to equality.
    The budget I propose to you also supports the people who 
keep our country strong and free, the men and women who serve 
in the United States military. I am requesting $5.7 billion in 
increased military pay and benefits, and health care and 
housing. Our men and women in uniform give America their best 
and we owe them our support.
    America's veterans honored their commitment to our country 
through their military service. I will honor our commitment to 
them with a billion dollar increase to ensure better access to 
quality care and faster decisions on benefit claims.
    My budget will improve our environment by accelerating the 
cleanup of toxic Brownfields. And I propose we make a major 
investment in conservation by fully funding the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund.
    Our National Parks have a special place in our country's 
life. Our parks are places of great natural beauty and history. 
As good stewards, we must leave them better than we have found 
them, so I propose providing $4.9 billion in resources over 5 
years for the upkeep of these national treasures.
    And my budget adopts a hopeful new approach to help the 
poor and disadvantaged. We must encourage and support the work 
of charities and faith-based and community groups that offer 
help and love one person at a time. These groups are working in 
every neighborhood in America, to fight homelessness and 
addiction and domestic violence, to provide a hot meal or a 
mentor or a safe haven for our children. Government should 
welcome these groups to apply for funds, not discriminate 
against them.
    Government cannot be replaced by charities or volunteers. 
And government should not fund religious activities. But our 
Nation should support the good works of these good people who 
are helping neighbors in need.
    So I am proposing allowing all taxpayers, whether they 
itemize or not, to deduct their charitable contributions. 
Estimates show this could encourage as much as $14 billion a 
year in new charitable giving--money that will save and change 
lives.
    Our budget provides more than $700 million over the next 10 
years for a Federal Compassion Capital Fund with a focused and 
noble mission: to provide a mentor to the more than 1 million 
children with a parent in prison, and to support other local 
efforts to fight illiteracy, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, 
and other difficult problems.
    With us tonight is the Mayor of Philadelphia. Please help 
me welcome Mayor John Street. Mayor Street has encouraged 
faith-based and community organizations to make a difference in 
Philadelphia and he has invited me to his city this summer, to 
see compassion in action.
    I am personally aware of just how effective the Mayor is. 
Mayor Street is a Democrat. Let the record show that I lost his 
city. But some things are bigger than politics. So I look 
forward to coming to your city to see your faith-based programs 
in action.
    As government promotes compassion, it also must promote 
justice. Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our 
Nation's justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at 
groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created 
equal and must be treated equally. Earlier today I asked 
Attorney General Ashcroft to develop specific recommendations 
to end racial profiling. It is wrong and we must end it.
    In so doing, we will not hinder the work of our Nation's 
brave police officers. They protect us every day, often at 
great risk. But by stopping the abuses of a few, we will add to 
the public confidence our police officers earn and deserve.
    My budget has funded a responsible increase in our ongoing 
operations, it has funded our Nation's important priorities, it 
has protected Social Security and Medicare, and our surpluses 
are big enough that there is still money left over.
    Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our 
national debt. I have listened, and I agree.
    My budget proposal pays down an unprecedented amount of 
public debt. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act 
now, and I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in 
debt during the next 10 years.
    At the end of those 10 years, we will have paid down all 
the debt that is available to retire. That is more debt repaid 
more quickly than has ever been repaid by any nation at any 
time in history.
    We should also prepare for the unexpected, for the 
uncertainties of the future. We should approach our Nation's 
budget as any prudent family would, with a contingency fund for 
emergencies or additional spending needs. For example, after a 
strategic review, we may need to increase defense spending, we 
may need additional money for our farmers, or additional money 
to reform Medicare. And so my budget sets aside almost a 
trillion dollars over 10 years for additional needs . . . that 
is one trillion additional reasons you can feel comfortable 
supporting this budget.
    We have increased our budget at a responsible 4 percent, we 
have funded our priorities, we have paid down all the available 
debt, we have prepared for contingencies--and we still have 
money left over.
    Yogi Berra once said: ``When you come to a form in the 
road, take it.'' Now we come to a fork in the road. We have two 
choices. Even though we have already met our needs, we could 
spend the money on more and bigger government. That is the road 
our Nation has traveled in recent years. Last year, government 
spending shot up 8 percent. That is far more than our economy 
grew, far more than personal income grew and far more than the 
rate of inflation. If you continue on that road, you will spend 
the surplus and have to dip into Social Security to pay other 
bills.
    Unrestrained government spending is a dangerous road to 
deficits, so we must take a different path. The other choice is 
to let the American people spend their own money to meet their 
own needs, to fund their own priorities and pay down their own 
debts. I hope you will join me and stand firmly on the side of 
the people.
    The growing surplus exists because taxes are too high and 
government is charging more than it needs. The people of 
America have been overcharged and on their behalf, I am here to 
ask for a refund.
    Some say my tax plan is too big, others say it is too 
small. I respectfully disagree. This tax relief is just right.
    I did not throw darts at a board to come up with a number 
for tax relief. I did not take a poll, or develop an arbitrary 
formula that might sound good. I looked at problems in the tax 
code and calculated the cost to fix them.
    A tax rate of 15 percent is too high for those who earn low 

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