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pd27de99 Remarks at the D.C. Central Kitchen...

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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, December 27, 1999
Volume 35--Number 51
Pages 2637-2668

[[Page i]]

Weekly Compilation of



[[Page ii]]

Addresses and Remarks

    ``America's Millennium'' celebration, videotape remarks--2651
    Christmas greetings to the Nation--2665, 2666
    D.C. Central Kitchen--2653
    Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinner--2643
    Emission standards for cars and sport utility vehicles--2649
    ``Lost Lives'' Christmas Eve, radio remarks for broadcast in 
    Maury Elementary School--2649
    Radio address--2647
    Walt Disney World holiday celebration, radio remarks--2655

Bill Signings

    Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, 

Communications to Congress

    Chemical weapons, letter transmitting report--2665

Communications to Federal Agencies

    Electronic Government, memorandum--2641
    Suspension of Limitations Under the Jerusalem Embassy Act, 
    Use of Information Technology To Improve Our Society, memorandum--

Executive Orders

    Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay--2651

Interviews With the News Media

    Exchange with reporters at D.C. Central Kitchen--2653
        Larry King of CNN's ``Larry King Live''--2656
        Peter Jennings of ABC News, excerpts--2645

Letters and Messages

    Christmas, message--2652
    Kwanzaa, message--2656

Statements by the President

    See also Bill Signings
        C. Vann Woodward--2648
        Grover Washington, Jr.--2648
        Tom Henderson--2665
    Gun control legislation--2651
    Nigeria, lifting the ban on direct flights--2655
    Venezuela, flooding and mudslides--2637

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--2668
    Checklist of White House press releases--2667
    Digest of other White House announcements--2667
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--2667

Editor's Note: In order to meet publication and distribution deadlines 
during the Christmas holiday weekend, the cutoff time for this issue has 
been advanced to 5 p.m. on Thursday, December 23, 1999. Documents 
released after that time will appear in the next issue.


Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register, National 
Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408, the Weekly 
Compilation of Presidential Documents contains statements, messages, and
other Presidential materials released by the White House during the 
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[[Page 2637]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2637]
Monday, December 27, 1999
Volume 35--Number 51
Pages 2637-2668
Week Ending Friday, December 24, 1999
Statement on Flooding and Mudslides in Venezuela

December 17, 1999

    I was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and physical 
devastation caused by flooding and mudslides in Venezuela. On behalf of 
the American people, I extend my deepest sympathies to all those who 
have suffered losses. We stand ready to help with rescue and relief 
efforts in any way we can.

Note: This item was not received in time for publication in the 
appropriate issue.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2637-2639]
Monday, December 27, 1999
Volume 35--Number 51
Pages 2637-2668
Week Ending Friday, December 24, 1999
Statement on Signing the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement 
Act of 1999

December 17, 1999

    Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 1180, the ``Ticket to Work 
and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999.'' This landmark legislation 
will remove barriers that have placed many individuals with disabilities 
in the untenable position of choosing between health care coverage and 
work. It also improves and expands vocational rehabilitation and 
employment service options for this talented, but as yet not fully 
tapped, workforce.
    This new law represents one of the most important legislative 
advances for people with disabilities since the enactment of the 
Americans with Disabilities Act. I have urged its passage for 2 years 
and was proud to include full funding for it in my FY 2000 Budget. The 
enactment of this law well illustrates what we can accomplish when we 
work together on a bipartisan basis to expand employment opportunities 
and affordable health-care options.
    The Act will ensure that individuals with disabilities have a 
greater opportunity to participate in the workforce and in the American 
Dream. It offers new ways for the Federal Government to partner with the 
States and the private sector to help people with disabilities to work 
and to keep their health care coverage. Most significantly, H.R. 1180:
<bullet>    Expands States' ability to provide a Medicaid ``buy-in'' to 
            individuals with disabilities who return to work.
<bullet>    Creates a new Medicaid demonstration to assess the 
            effectiveness of providing Medicaid coverage to people whose 
            condition has not yet deteriorated enough to prevent work, 
            but who need health care to prevent or forestall that level 
            of deterioration. This provision will allow States to help 
            those individuals with diseases such as muscular dystrophy, 
            Parkinson's Disease, diabetes, and HIV.
<bullet>    Lengthens from 4 years to 8-\1/2\ years the period for which 
            Social Security disability beneficiaries who return to work 
            can continue to receive reduced-cost Medicare coverage.
<bullet>    Provides grants to States to design and administer 
            infrastructures to provide services that support working 
            individuals with disabilities.
<bullet>    Provides Social Security disability beneficiaries a choice 
            of providers for employment-related services.
<bullet>    Authorizes the Social Security Administration to test new 
            and innovative ways to enable individuals with disabilities 
            to return to work and make economic independence a reality.
<bullet>    Enables individuals with disabilities to reestablish 
            eligibility for Social Security disability benefits on an 
            expedited basis if their attempts to return to work prove to 
            be unsuccessful. These individuals will be able to request 
            reinstatement of benefits without having to file a new 
            disability benefits application--thereby reducing the risk 
            of returning to work.
    These provisions give people who want to work a chance to do so by 
ensuring access

[[Page 2638]]

to health care insurance and modernizing the employment services system 
for people with disabilities. Together, these provisions affirm the 
basic principle manifested in the Americans with Disabilities Act: that 
all Americans should have the same opportunity to be productive 
    The Act also contains several provisions to extend expiring tax 
laws. These provisions continue incentives for the advancement of 
several national priorities and reaffirm our commitment to help American 
families and businesses. Most importantly, the bill extends the research 
and experimentation tax credit for 5 years, encouraging companies to 
undertake new multi-year research activities. This crucial tax credit 
will help innovative American companies build on my Administration's 
impressive economic achievements and will lead to new products and 
technologies to improve people's lives. In addition, H.R. 1180 extends 
for 3 years the provision that allows America's middle-income taxpayers 
full use of important personal tax credits--such as the child credit, 
the Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning credits, and the child and 
dependent care credits--without limitation by the alternative minimum 
tax. This also will allow tens of millions more taxpayers to forgo 
performing complex calculations.
    The Act extends a provision that will help improve school facilities 
in low-income communities by providing no-interest loans to school 
districts in needy areas for rehabilitation and repairs, educational 
equipment, curriculum development, and teacher training.
    The Act will provide more economic opportunity to Puerto Rico by 
extending application of the research and experimentation tax credit to 
such activity undertaken in Puerto Rico, as I proposed. In response to 
another of my proposals, H.R. 1180 also will provide a greater transfer 
of excise tax revenue on rum not made in the States to Puerto Rico and 
the Virgin Islands for 2-\1/2\ years to provide aid that the islands 
urgently need.
    Furthermore, H.R. 1180 extends through 2001 critical tax provisions 
<bullet>    Encourage employers to pay for their workers' continuing 
<bullet>    Help disadvantaged people, including welfare recipients, 
            find jobs.
<bullet>    Encourage businesses to clean up polluted ``brownfields''.
<bullet>    Stimulate low- and no-emission production of power.
<bullet>    Assist first-time home buyers in purchasing a home in the 
            District of Columbia
    It is unfortunate, however, that the revenue losses resulting from 
these provisions were not fully offset.
    I am pleased that H.R. 1180 will do much to improve the lives of 
people with disabilities and will extend important tax provisions. I am 
deeply disappointed, however, that the bill includes a provision for a 
special allowance adjustment for student loans. This provision will 
expose the Federal Government, rather than lenders, to substantial 
financial risk due to the difference between Treasury and commercial 
paper borrowing rates, and will provide unnecessary and costly new 
benefits to the student loan industry with no benefit whatsoever to 
    My Administration has a deep and long-standing commitment to promote 
and increase the independence of individuals with disabilities. I would 
like to thank each individual who has been involved in the challenging 
work of developing this landmark legislation. Special thanks should be 
given to the congressional leaders, who have contributed so much to the 
passage of H.R. 1180, particularly Senators Jeffords, Kennedy, Roth, and 
Moynihan, as well as Representatives Dingell, Archer, Rangel, Stark,
Waxman, Thomas, Matsui, Bliley, Shaw,
Bilirakis, Nancy Johnson, Cardin, Sherrod Brown, and Lazio. I also want 
to acknowledge the efforts of Alexis Herman, Secretary of Labor; Kenneth 
S. Apfel, Commissioner of Social Security; and Donna Shalala, Secretary 

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