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pd04au03 Letter to Congressional Leaders on Waiver Certification To Implement the...

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    As a mark of respect for the memory of Bob Hope, I hereby order, by 
the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the 
Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the 
day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at 
half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, 
at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of 
the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the 
United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on such 
day. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the 
same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, 
and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval 
vessels and stations.
     In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth 
day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the 
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-
                                                George W. Bush

 [Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 9:18 a.m., July 30, 

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on July 

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 984-990]
Pages 983-1028
Week Ending Friday, August 1, 2003
Remarks to the National Urban League Conference in Pittsburgh, 

July 28, 2003

    Thanks for the warm welcome. Thanks for your kind invitation. But 
most importantly, thanks for your service to your fellow Americans. The 
Urban League has always stood for justice and hope and healing. It's 
stood for opportunity for all our citizens. I'm honored to be at such an 
    I appreciate the chance as well to come to Pittsburgh. It's a city 
that's rich in civil rights, the history of civil rights. In the 1800s, 
the Underground Railroad here delivered thousands out of slavery and 
into freedom. In the 1930s and 1940s, Pittsburgh's Urban League led 
successful protests against schools and department stores that refused 
to hire African Americans. And today in this city, community leaders are 
showing what good people can accomplish by working together. I now know 
why they call it the Renaissance City, and I want to thank you for your 
    The work of the National Urban League represents one of the basic 
commitments of this country. See, we believe in opportunity for all, a 
society where every person can dream and work and realize his or her 
potential. We're dedicated to bringing economic hope to every 
neighborhood, a good education to every child, and comfort and 
compassion to the afflicted. And our Nation has come a long way, and we 
have a long way to go. And we will not stop, we will not tire until we 
extend the great promise of America to every neighborhood in America. 
And that's what I want to talk about today.
    I want to thank Mr. President, President Marc Morial, for his kind 
invitation and his willingness to lead this important American 
institution. He replaces a good man in Hugh Price, who has ably led the 
Urban League for nearly a decade. And there's no doubt in my mind that 
Marc Morial will do a great

[[Page 985]]

job on behalf of America. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. As he said, we grew up 
right around the corner from each other. And I know what he was--what 
New Orleans was like when he was the mayor of that important city. 
Bourbon Street was never more alive when--[laughter]--never mind. 
    I'm honored that the Secretary of Education is with us today, Rod 
Paige. He is a good friend and a good man.
    I appreciate so very much Michael Critelli, who is the chairman of 
the board of the National Urban League, a businessman that understands 
corporate responsibility. It means you've got to help somebody else as 
well as watching the bottom line. Mike, thank you for being here.
    I'm honored that members from the Pennsylvania congressional 
delegation are with us today, Senators Specter and Santorum and 
Congressman Tim Murphy. I appreciate them coming. A couple of them 
jumped on Air Force One. [Laughter] I'm not suggesting that's why they 
came. [Laughter] There's not a lot of air raids on Air Force One. 
[Laughter] But I'm glad to have them.
    I see Reverend Jackson is with us today. Jesse Jackson, it's good to 
see you. Congressman Cummings, I'm honored to see you, Congressman. 
Thank you for being here. I appreciate so very much my friend Mayor Jim 
Garner, who's the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who is 
with us today. Mr. Mayor, thank you for coming.
    I know that Mike Fisher, the State attorney general, is with us 
today. And the Allegheny County chief executive, Jim Roddey, is with us 
today. And I'm honored that they have come. I want to thank all the 
elected officials. I want to thank the board of the National Urban 
League. And I want to thank the delegates for giving me a chance to come 
by and say hello.
    Today I had the honor, when I landed at the airport, of meeting a 
board member of the Urban League of Pittsburgh, a fellow named Xavier 
Williams. He came to see me because one of the things I try to do is 
herald the great strength of the country, which happens to be the heart 
and soul of our citizens. You see, Xavier works for a--it's called 
INROADS. It's a nonprofit organization which matches minority youth with 
successful businesses and corporations to try to help them have the 
skills necessary to realize the entrepreneurial spirit of America. 
Xavier knows what I know, that the best way to serve your country is to 
love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. And I 
appreciate the example that Xavier Williams sets for not only the good 
folks here in Pittsburgh but for people all around the country. Thank 
you, Xavier, for your service to our country.
    Every generation of Americans must rise to its own challenges, and 
this generation is rising to meet ours. We will never forget the lessons 
of September the 11th, 2001. Great oceans no longer protect us from 
dangers that gather far from home. And the other lesson is that there 
are people who can't stand what America stands for and desire to 
conflict great harm on the American people. In the 22 months since that 
day, we have put those who hate America on notice: Wherever they plot, 
wherever they plan, they will find no place to hide from American 
    The Al Qaida terrorists still threaten our country, but they're on 
the run. The regime in Afghanistan, the Taliban regime, inflicted great 
harm on the citizens of that country and protected the terrorists. But 
that regime is no more. Afghanistan is now free.
    And our current mission in Iraq is essential to the broader war on 
terror; it's essential to the security of the American people. You see, 
a free, democratic, peaceful Iraq will not threaten America or our 
friends with weapons. A free Iraq will not be a training ground for 
terrorists or a funnel of money to terrorists or provide weapons to 
terrorists who would willingly use them to strike our country. A free 
Iraq will not destabilize the Middle East. A free Iraq can set a hopeful 
example to the entire region and lead other nations to choose freedom. 
And as the pursuits of freedom replace hatred and resentment and terror 
in the Middle East, the American people will be more secure.
    Our men and women in uniform are serving our Nation and the cause of 
security and peace. We're proud of them. We appreciate their progress. 
We appreciate their dedication to the country called America.
    This Nation has got another great challenge. While we stand for 
freedom and opportunity abroad, we must make those same

[[Page 986]]

values real in the lives of all Americans. This Nation has got work to 
do. There are citizens who can't find jobs. There are citizens looking 
for homes for their families. There are students who go to school that 
are letting them down every day and don't seem to improve. There are 
children who need mentors in their lives; people struggling with 
addiction who need to know they don't face that struggle alone.
    To make the promise of America real for everyone, we need active 
citizens who help their neighbors; we need active churches and active 
communities; and we need active government. We can make a difference in 
people's lives with creative, innovative policies that focus on results.
    Greater opportunity and hope begins with a growing economy. The 
stock market started to decline in March of 2000. And then we had 
recession in the first quarter of 2001. So we acted. We provided 
historic tax relief for families. And then as the economy was beginning 
to come back, we found out some of our citizens, corporate CEOs, forgot 
what it means to be a responsible citizen, and they did not tell the 
truth to shareholder and employee alike. So we acted, and we're now 
holding corporate criminals to account.
    Last year, we saw too many Americans were still struggling to find a 
job, so we acted again. We brought the marriage penalty down. It doesn't 
make any sense, by the way, to penalize marriage in the Tax Code. It 
seems like the Tax Code ought to encourage marriage, not penalize it. We 
reduced income tax rates. We expanded the child credit from $600 to 
$1,000 per child, and we made the change retroactive to January 1st of 
this year, so the checks are in the mail. And as a matter of fairness, 
Congress should make the child credit refundable--low-income families 
need help as well during these economic slow times.
    To add more jobs to the economy, we're also focusing a lot on small 
businesses, because small businesses create the most new jobs in an 
economy. Most small businesses are sole proprietorships or Subchapter 
S's, so when you reduce the income tax rates, you help small businesses. 
They pay tax at the individual rates. We're also allowing higher expense 
deduction for small businesses, which will make it easier for small 
businesses to buy new equipment and to hire new people. We're working 
through the Small Business Administration and Minority Business 
Development Agency to ensure that minority businesses get access to 
Federal contracting and financing and technical assistance for startups, 
because we understand small businesses are the path to the American 
Dream, and this path must be more open to all our citizens.
    You hear a lot of talk about tax relief. Let me tell you my belief. 
When a person has got more money in his or her pocket, he or she is 
likely to demand an additional good or a service. And when somebody 
demands a good or a service in our society, somebody is going to produce 
the good or a service. And when somebody produces that good or a 
service, it means somebody is more likely find a job. The tax relief we 
packaged is good for helping people find work in America.
    Now, we've been through a lot: recession, war, emergencies, and 
corporate scandals. But I'm optimistic about the future. I'm optimistic 
about the future, because I see hopeful signs. Home sales are strong, 
and people are refinancing their mortgages to put more money in their 
pockets. Inflation is low. Retail sales have begun to show growth. 
Productivity is high, and the good news is, a lot of the economists are 
beginning to forecast a better tomorrow, which is important for making 
sure that people have hope in our society.
    No, we're dealing with the economy. We saw a problem, and we dealt 
with it straight up.
    And as the economy expands, we've got to help Americans who find the 
greatest difficulty finding work. So I proposed what we call 
reemployment accounts. The job-seeker would have an account up to $3,000 
for job training or child care or transportation or relocating to get a 
new job in a new city. If a worker finds a new job quickly, within 13 
weeks, he or she gets to keep the balance of the cash as a reemployment 
account. Congress needs to put this plan in effect. Congress needs to 
help those who are having trouble finding work.
    Congress also needs to understand, we need a sound energy policy in 
America. We need to cut down on frivolous litigation,

[[Page 987]]

which inhibits economic growth. We need a trade policy that opens up new 
markets for American products.
    We also need good housing policy. A good way to make sure this 
economy remains strong is a housing policy which closes the minority 
homeownership gap in America. We need greater tax incentives for people 
to build homes in inner cities. I believe our Government should provide 
downpayment assistance to people who want to buy a home but need a 
little extra help. I understand there's a lot of fine print when it 
comes to mortgages, so we need to help people understand what's in the 
fine print. We need grant programs to help counsel low- and moderate-
income folks across our country, to teach them what it means to buy a 
home and to make sure that the fine print is understood by all. No, 
we've got a goal in America of helping 5\1/2\ million more minority 
citizens become homeowners by the end of this decade.
    The truth of the matter is, the future of our economy and our 
country depend upon good schools in all our neighborhoods. Equal 
education is one of the most pressing civil rights of our day. Nearly 
half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, there's still an 
achievement gap in America. On the most recent National Assessment of 
Educational Progress, on the reading test, 41 percent of white fourth 
graders were proficient and better readers, but only 12 percent of 
African Americans met that standard. That means we've got a problem. 
Both numbers are too low. I think too many of our schools are leaving 
too many of our children unprepared.
    And so we acted. I worked with Congress to pass what we call the No 
Child Left Behind Act. It says every child can learn; we must have high 
standards for every child; and we must hold people to account to make 
sure children do learn. We must challenge the soft bigotry of low 
expectations, and you know what I'm talking about. And as Rod Paige will 
brief you, States are beginning to respond. We said, ``In return for 
record levels of education spending at the Federal level, we expect 
    You see, if you believe every child can learn, then you ought to be 
asking the question to those who are spending our money, ``Are you 
teaching the child?'' That's what we ought to be asking all across 
America. And now there's accountability plans being put in place in 50 
States plus Puerto Rico and the District. I know people are concerned 
about testing. I've heard this debate a lot. They say it's 
discriminatory to measure and compare results. I say it is 
discriminatory not to measure. I think it's important to know whether or 
not our schools are succeeding. We simply have got to stop shuffling our 
children from grade to grade without asking the question, have they been 
taught to learn to read and write and add and subtract?
    I believe it is those who believe certain children can't learn that 
are willing to shuffle them through. And the No Child Left Behind Act 
ends that. In return for record levels of money, you've got to show us 
whether or not the children can read and write and add and subtract. And 
when schools don't measure up, parents must have more options. It's one 
thing to measure, but there has to be consequences for failing schools. 
So in that act, parents are able to send their children to a different 
public school or a charter school or get special tutorial help.
    I also believe it makes sense to explore private school choices, so 
I'm working with the leadership in Washington, DC. This isn't a Democrat 
issue or Republican issue. This is an issue that focuses on children.
    I know setting high standards works. I know measuring and using the 
measurement system as a way to diagnose problems so you can focus on the 
problems works. In my State, 73 percent of the white students passed the 
math test in 1994, while only 38 percent of the African American 
students passed it. So we made that the point of reference. We had 
people focused on the results for the first time, not process but 
results. And because teachers rose to the challenge, because the problem 
became clear, that gap has now closed to 10 points. Because every child 
can learn, you've just got to focus the attention and the resources when 
necessary. Accountability tells you what's going right, and it tells you 
what's going wrong, and it shows you where the emphasis needs to be. 
We're having the same results in North Carolina. In States that measure, 
you'll find that the achievement gap is closing dramatically.

[[Page 988]]

    Our opportunity in society must also be a compassionate society. As 
Americans, when we see hopelessness and suffering and injustice, we will 
not turn our backs. And one of the best ways to build hope is to 
recognize where some of the great works of compassion are done. You see, 
Government can hand out money--sometimes we do a pretty good job of it--
but what it can't do is put hope in people's hearts or a sense of 
purpose in people's lives. That happens when people who have been called 
to love a neighbor interface with a neighbor in need.
    See, every day across America, faith-based and community groups are 
touching people's lives in profound ways--give shelter to the homeless 
and provide safety for battered women; they bring compassion to lonely 
seniors. America's neighborhood healers have long experience and deep 
understanding of the problems that many face, and many of them have 
something extra besides experience. They have inspiration, as they carry 
God's love to people in need. I like to call the neighborhood healers 
America's social entrepreneurs. And they need the support of foundation 
America and corporate America. They need the support of individuals and, 

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