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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, November 29, 1999
Volume 35--Number 47
Pages 2411-2451

[[Page i]]

Weekly Compilation of



[[Page ii]]



Address and Remarks

    See also Meetings With Foreign Leaders
        People in Sofia--2438
        State dinner hosted by President Stoyanov in Sofia--2440
    Greece, business and community leaders in Athens--2417
    Italy, Conference on Progressive Governance for the 21st Century in 
        Florence--2424, 2429, 2431, 2433, 2434
        American troops at Camp Bondsteel--2443, 2445
        Ganimet Terbeshi Elementary School in Ferizaj--2441
    Radio address--2411
    Thanksgiving turkey presentation ceremony--2446

Bill Signings

    Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act, statement--

Interviews With the New Media

    Exchanges with reporters
        Bulgaria, Sofia--2436, 2437
        Rose Garden--2446
    News conference with Prime Minister Konstandinos Simitis of Greece, 
        November 20 (No. 184)--2412

Meetings With Foreign Leaders

        President Stoyanov--2436, 2440
        Prime Minister Kostov--2437
        President Stephanopoulos--2417
        Prime Minister Simitis--2412, 2417
    Italy, Prime Minister D'Alema--2424, 2429, 2434


    Thanksgiving Day--2424

Statements by the President

    See also Bill Signings
    Congressional action on the ``Foster Care Independence Act of 
    National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, new certified 
        teachers announcement--2440
    Texas A&M University bonfire tower tragedy--2411
    Uniform crime report, 1999--2436

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--2450
    Checklist of White House press releases--2450
    Digest of other White House announcements--2449
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--2450

Editor's Note: The Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents is also 
available on the Internet on the GPO Access service at http://


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
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[[Page 2411]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2411]
Monday, November 29, 1999
Volume 35--Number 47
Pages 2411-2451
Week Ending Friday, November 26, 1999
Statement on the Texas A&M University Bonfire Tower Tragedy

November 19, 1999

    Today I spoke with Dr. Ray Bowen, president of Texas A&M University, 
to extend my deepest sympathies on the tragedy that occurred at the 
campus. This is a heartbreaking loss. America stands with the College 
Station community as it joins together during this difficult time. 
Hillary and I offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends 
of those who were injured or killed in this devastating incident.

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


[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2411-2412]
Monday, November 29, 1999
Volume 35--Number 47
Pages 2411-2451
Week Ending Friday, November 26, 1999
The President's Radio Address

November 20, 1999

    Good morning. I'm speaking to you from Istanbul, Turkey, where we 
just wrapped up a successful summit meeting of the Organization of 
Security and Cooperation in Europe, one that focused on the global 
challenges of the new century. At the same time, our administration has 
also wrapped up our work with Congress on the first budget of the new 
    Today I want to talk to you about what we achieved and highlight a 
little-known accomplishment that will make a big difference to people 
with disabilities who want to be part of our Nation's growing economy.
    This week's budget agreement is truly a victory for the American 
people, a victory for children because it invests in world-class 
education that keeps us on the path to hiring 100,000 quality teachers 
to reduce class size. It doubles funds for after-school and summer 
school programs, and it provides help for communities to turn around 
failing schools or shut them down. It's a victory for families and 
neighborhoods, because it commits the resources necessary to begin 
hiring another 50,000 community police officers to keep our crime rate, 
already at a 25-year low, coming down. It's a victory for future 
generations, because it protects the environment and preserves more 
natural areas, and it's a victory for American leadership in the world, 
because finally, it pays our U.N. dues and maintains our commitments 
around the globe to peace in the Middle East, to reducing the nuclear 
threat and chemical weapons threats, to helping relieve the debt of the 
world's poorest nations.
    In short, we have delivered a 21st century budget that prepares for 
the future and lives up to our values. It also continues to pay down our 
national debt, because we walked away from that big $792 billion tax cut 
that the Congress passed and I vetoed. So we got the best of all worlds.
    Perhaps nothing better symbolizes just what we were fighting for 
than the historic progress made in the budget to open new doors of 
opportunity for Americans with disabilities.
    Now, we're enjoying one of the strongest economies in generations. 
Yet even today 75 percent of Americans with severe disabilities who are 
ready, willing, and able to work aren't working. One of the biggest 
reasons is they fear they'll lose their health insurance when they get a 
job. And there's a good reason for this fear.
    Under current law, many people with disabilities are eligible for 
Medicaid or Medicare coverage. But they can't go to work and keep that 
coverage. Yet when they do go to work, they can't get private insurance 
because of their disability. So there is a tremendous disincentive to 
work. Let me just give you one example.
    I met a man in New Hampshire not long ago who is paralyzed as a 
result of an accident. He wanted to take a job that paid $28,000 a year, 
but he would have lost his Medicaid health coverage, which would have

[[Page 2412]]

led to medical expenses of $40,000 a year. Now, the taxpayers would 
actually be better off. We're going to pay the medical expenses one way 
or the other, but if he went to work, he'd become a taxpaying citizen. 
And, more important, he would have the dignity of work. No citizen 
should have to choose between going to work and paying medical bills.
    I'm very proud this week that Congress, on a bipartisan basis, 
finally agreed on the historic ``Work Incentives Improvement Act.'' It's 
bipartisan legislation to allow people with disabilities to keep their 
health care on the job. They can earn a salary, pay taxes, and be role 
models by proving what people can do if given a chance to live up to 
their God-given potential.
    This will make a real difference, also, for people with potentially 
severe disabilities--those who are facing the early onset of diseases 
like AIDS, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's, or diabetes. Right now they 
may be able to work, but their conditions aren't deemed severe enough to 
qualify for Medicaid. Yet because they have them, they still can't get 
private health insurance. In other words, they can't get any health care 
until they're too sick to work.
    In the final hours of negotiations, we were able to further 
strengthen this legislation by getting $250 million for a demonstration 
program to allow these Americans to buy into Medicaid, stay on the job, 
and stay healthier longer. I encourage all the States to take advantage 
of these new health care options.
    Taken together, this initiative is the most significant advancement 
for people with disabilities since the passage of the Americans with 
Disabilities Act almost a decade ago. It is part of our administration's 
7-year commitment to tearing down barriers to work and rewarding 
responsibility. Along with reforming welfare, increasing the minimum 
wage, increasing child care assistance, and doubling the earned-income 
tax credit, the ``Work Incentives Improvement Act'' is another milestone 
on the path to opening work and rewarding responsibility for Americans.
    Now, I hope we'll stay on that course and take on America's still-
unfinished agenda: commonsense gun safety legislation, a real Patients' 
Bill of Rights, meaningful hate crimes legislation, saving Social 
Security, reforming Medicare, adding prescription drug coverage, raising 
the minimum wage.
    To Congress I say, we've done a good job for the American people by 
working together. Let's keep working together, build on our progress, 
and get the right things done for the American people.
    Thanks for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 12:41 p.m. on November 19 in the Perge 
Room at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, for broadcast at 10:06 
a.m. on November 20. The transcript was made available by the Office of 
the Press Secretary on November 19 but was embargoed for release until 
the broadcast.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2412-2417]
Monday, November 29, 1999
Volume 35--Number 47
Pages 2411-2451
Week Ending Friday, November 26, 1999
The President's News Conference With Prime Minister Konstandinos Simitis 
of Greece in Athens

November 20, 1999

    Prime Minister Simitis. Ladies and gentlemen, with very special 
pleasure, the Greek Government and the Greek people and I, personally, 
are welcoming President Clinton and the American delegation. This visit 
is confirming the historic friendship relations between the two 
countries and between our two people, a relationship that has been kept 
alive by the Greeks who have lived and are still living creatively in 
the United States, by the common struggles in other times, by our close 

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