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The Clinton Presidency: Timeline of Major Actions

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Record of Progress

The Clinton Presidency:
Eight Years of Peace, Progress and Prosperity

1993
January 22 Abolished Restrictions on Medical Research and the Right to Choose
As his first executive actions, President Clinton revoked the Gag Rule, which prohibited abortion counseling in clinics that receive federal funding to serve low-income patients. He also revoked restrictions on a womanís legal right to privately funded abortion services in military hospitals, restrictions on the import of RU-486, and restrictions on the award of international family planning grants (the "Mexico City Policy"). The President also lifted the moratorium on federal funding for research involving fetal tissue, allowing progress on research into treatments for Parkinsonís disease, Alzheimerís, diabetes and leukemia. (Executive Memoranda, 1/22/93)
February 1 Helped States Take the First Steps Toward Welfare Reform
President Clinton ordered the Federal Government to make it easier for states to receive waivers from government regulations in order to implement innovative welfare reform projects. Between 1993 and the signing of the Welfare Reform bill in 1996, the Administration granted waivers to a record 43 states. Those waivers laid the foundation of the new welfare reform law by strengthening work requirements, time-limiting assistance and demanding parental responsibility. (Presidential Directives 2/1/93)
February 5 Family and Medical Leave Act
The Family & Medical Leave Act — the first piece of legislation the President signed into law — has enabled millions of workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a new baby or ailing family member without jeopardizing their job. The previous administration vetoed the bill twice. (PL 103-3, signed 2/5/93)
March 3 "Reinventing Government" Initiative Launched
President Clinton asked Vice President Gore to head the National Performance Review aimed at making government work better for less. The Vice Presidentís Reinventing Government Initiative has resulted in 377,000 fewer civilian employees in the federal government — the lowest level since the Kennedy Administration — and reduced federal spending as a share of the economy from 22.2 percent in 1992 to a projected 18.5 percent in 2000, the lowest since 1966.
April 1 Childhood Immunizations
The President launched a major childhood immunization effort to increase the number of children who were being immunized. Since 1993, childhood immunization rates have reached all-time highs, with 90 percent or more of America's toddlers receiving critical vaccines for children by age 2. Vaccination levels are nearly the same for preschool children of all racial and ethnic groups, narrowing a gap estimated to be as wide as 26 percentage points a generation ago.
May 20 Motor Voter Registration Signed
The Clinton Administration made it easier for millions of Americans to register to vote by allowing registration at the same time they get a driverís license. The Motor Voter law led to the registration of more than 28 million new voters, more registered voters than the passage of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 years. (PL 103-31, signed 5/20/93).
August 10 Clinton-Gore Deficit Reduction Plan Enacted
Passed without a single Republican vote, the Clinton-Gore Administrationís economic plan established fiscal discipline by slashing the deficit in half — the largest deficit reduction plan in history — while making important investments in our economic future, including education, health care, and science and technology research. This legislation also extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by three years. Fiscal discipline established by the Clinton-Gore Administration has turned the largest deficits in our countryís history into the largest surplus. (PL 103-66, signed 8/10/93)
  Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion/Working Family Tax Cut
President Clinton succeeded in passing an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, giving a tax cut to 15 million of the hardest-pressed American workers. In 1999, the EITC lifted 4.1 million people out of poverty — nearly double the number lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993. (PL 103-66, signed 8/10/93).
  Student Loan Reform
The Clinton-Gore Administration created the Direct Student Loan Program, which cut red tape and administrative costs by eliminating subsidies and bureaucracy in the Student Loan Program. The program has saved taxpayers $4 billion since 1993 and allowed interest rate reductions for students. (PL 103-66, signed 8/10/93)
  Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Communities Program
Created nine Empowerment Zones and 95 Enterprise Communities with tax incentives and $100 million per EZ in discretionary investment dollars to spur local community planning and economic growth in distressed communities. At the Presidentís request, Congress expanded the program in 1994, 1997, and again in 2000. To date, the EZ program has leveraged over $10 million in additional private investment into EZs. The EZ program represents the most ambitious incentives program ever offered by the federal government to promote private sector investment in distressed areas in America.
  Childhood Immunization Initiative
In 1992, less than 60 percent of two-year-olds were fully immunized — the third lowest rate in the Western Hemisphere. The Clinton-Gore Economic Plan contained investments to guarantee the health of children and prevent the easily avoidable costs of preventable childhood diseases. Today, the nation's overall immunization rate for preschool children is the highest ever recorded.
September 21 AmeriCorps Community Service Initiative Enacted
AmeriCorps allows individuals to serve communities across the country while earning money for college or skills training programs. Since its inception, 150,000 volunteers have participated in AmeriCorps; that means that more people have enrolled in this Clinton Administration initiative in its first five years than did in the Peace Corpsí first 20 years. (PL 103-82, signed 9/21/93)
November 30 Brady Act Signed
After seven years of debate under previous administrations, the President signed legislation requiring a background check before the purchase of a handgun and establishing a National Instant Check System. Since its enactment, the Brady Law has helped to prevent a total of more than 600,000 felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns. Since 1992, the gun-related crime rate has declined by 40 percent. (PL 103-159, signed 11/30/93)
December 8 NAFTA Ratified
President Clinton worked to pass bipartisan legislation implementing the North American Free Trade Agreement, creating the worldís largest free trade zone. Since passage of NAFTA, the U.S. manufacturing sector has created 400,000 jobs, and exports to Canada and Mexico support 600,000 more jobs today than in 1993. (Signed 12/8/93)
 
1994
March 31 Goals 2000 Education Standards Enacted
This legislation provided assistance to states to implement high standards and challenging curricula to help all children succeed. Today, 49 states require students to meet tough standards in core subjects, and 48 states test reading and mathematics skills in elementary, middle and high school to ensure students are meeting those standards. (PL 103-227, signed 3/31/94)
May 18 Head Start Reform and Creation of Early Head Start
President Clinton and Vice President Gore advocated for legislation increasing Head Start participation and quality. The new bill established minimum performance standards, strong accountability and created the Early Head Start program for children aged 0 to 3. The Administration has increased funding for Head Start by more than 90 percent since 1993. Head Start and Early Head Start will reach approximately 935,000 in 2001. (PL 103-252, signed 5/18/94)
September 13 Crime Bill Signed
Enacted the Clinton-Gore Administrationís tough and smart crime fighting strategy. The Bill contained tougher penalties, including "three strikes and youíre out" legislation, helped states build more prisons and increased prevention and victims rights. As a result, the overall crime rate has dropped for 8 years in a row — the longest continuous drop on record — and is now at a 26 year low. (PL 103-322, signed 9/13/94)
  Assault Weapons Ban
President Clinton and Vice President Gore overcame intense opposition by the gun lobby to ban 19 of the most dangerous assault weapons. Thanks in part to the Clinton-Gore Administrationís efforts to take these dangerous guns off the streets, overall gun violence has declined by 40 percent since 1992. (PL 103-322, signed 9/13/94)
  100,000 Community Police Officers
The Clinton-Gore Administration succeeded in passing a bill authorizing local governments funding to hire and redeploy 100,000 community police officers. COPS helped contribute to a decline that brought the overall crime rate to the lowest level in 26 years. In 1999, crime fell for the eighth consecutive year nationwide. (PL 103-322, signed 9/13/94)
  Violence Against Women Act
The Clinton-Gore Administration fought for and signed this bill, which contains new penalties, resources to prosecute more domestic violence offenders, and quadrupled funding for battered women's shelters. The Administration also established a nationwide 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline. This initiative represents the first federal effort to address domestic violence and violence against women. Today, the number of victims of domestic violence has fallen from 1.1 million in 1993 to 876,340 in 1998. (PL 103-322, signed 9/13/94)
September 23 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Created
Meeting an early campaign commitment, the President signed legislation creating the CDFI Fund to support both specialized financial institutions and traditional banks that serve lower-income communities. As of late 2000, the CDFI Fund had certified over 400 community development banks, community development credit unions, housing and business loan funds and venture capital firms as CDFIs. The CDFI Fund has provided over $427 million in funding to institutions that provide capital and financial services to underserved markets.
October 20 Improving Americaís Schools Act
This reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act ended the era of lower expectations for disadvantaged children by insisting that all students be held to the same high academic standards. The bill also strengthened accountability for student performance and required states to turn around low-performing schools.
October 31 California Desert Protection Act Signed
The largest land protection bill since 1980 protected nearly 8 million acres of wilderness and created three new national parks. (PL 103-433, signed 10/31/94)
December 8 GATT Ratified
The Clinton-Gore Administration worked with a bipartisan majority in the Senate to pass legislation implementing the General Agreement on Tariffs and trade (GATT). This agreement allows American workers and businesses to compete in a freer, fairer, and more effective global trading system. (PL 103-465, signed 12/8/94)
 
1995
January 25 Called for National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
In his State of the Union address, the President challenged Americans to join together in a national campaign against teen pregnancy. Both teen birth rates and teen pregnancy rates are now at the lowest level on record.
January 31 Loans Preventing Economic Collapse in Mexico Issued
After Congress refused to act, President Clinton issued $20 billion in emergency loans to Mexico to stabilize the countryís financial markets. Loans from the United States and the International Monetary Fund stopped the collapse of the peso, prevented economic crisis, and helped the country return to solid economic growth. Mexico repaid the loans with interest three years ahead of schedule. U.S. taxpayers made a net gain of nearly $580 million from the loan.
February 27 Federal Child Support Enforcement Expanded
The President issued an executive order stepping up federal efforts to collect child support payments. The Clinton Administrationís strategy of encouraging parental responsibility and increasing child support enforcement efforts has doubled collections of child support from $8 billion in 1992 to $16 billion in 1999. (Exec. Order 12953)
March 8 Executive Order Preventing Permanent Striker Replacement Issued
In order to maintain fairness and balance between workers and management, President Clinton issued an executive order preventing the federal government from contracting with businesses that hire permanent replacements for employees engaging in lawful strikes. (Exec. Order 12954)
July 12 Religious Freedom in Schools Protected
In order to protect religious expression in public schools while preserving the separation of church and state, President Clinton issued an executive memorandum outlining several principles of religious expression in schools. This directive clarified that under our Constitution students are free to express their religious views, pray and discuss religion at school in a non-disruptive and non-coercive manner and that teachers may teach about the importance of religion in art, literature and history. At the same time, schools and teachers may not endorse religious activity or doctrine, nor may they coerce participation in religious activity. (Exec. Memorandum 7/12/95)
August 10 First-Ever Comprehensive Plan to Reduce Youth Smoking Proposed
The Clinton-Gore Administration proposed the first-ever comprehensive plan to reduce youth smoking. The proposal required young people to prove their age to buy cigarettes, banned vending machines in places where minors can go, ended the marketing of cigarettes and tobacco to minors, and required the tobacco industry to fund an education campaign to prevent kids from smoking. The proposal took effect when new FDA regulations were announced on August 23, 1996.
December 14 Dayton Peace Accords Signed
Leaders of the rival factions in the Bosnian civil war signed a treaty to end the nearly four-year-old conflict, formally approving the pact they had initialed in November in Dayton, Ohio after three weeks of U.S.-sponsored talks.
 
1996
January 23 National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy was formed in response to the Presidentís 1995 State of the Union. Since President Clinton took office, teen birth rates have dropped 18 percent, to the lowest level on record.
February 8 Telecommunications Reform Signed
President Clinton and Vice President Gore achieved the first major overhaul of the telecommunications laws in 60 years. Reforms of the 1934 Telecommunications Act opened up competition between local telephone companies, long distance providers and cable companies; and required the use of new V-chip technology to enable families to exercise greater control over the television programming that comes into their homes. The Act also contained the Vice Presidentís E-Rate proposal, which provides low-cost Internet connections for schools, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals. (PL 104-104, signed 2/8/96)
February 24 Encouraged the Adoption of School Uniforms
President Clinton took steps to offer support and make it easier for schools to voluntarily adopt school uniform policies. Schools across the nation have demonstrated that school uniforms can lead to safer schools, more disciplined and orderly classrooms, and free teachers to focus on teaching and students to focus on learning.
April 24 Antiterrorism Law
The President signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act into law at a ceremony at the White House. President Clinton first sent this legislation to Congress in February 1995 and called for additional antiterrorism measures and actions after the devastation of the federal building in Oklahoma City. The 1996 law included measures to combat terrorism at home and abroad including provisions to provide broad Federal jurisdiction to prosecute terrorist acts, bar terrorists from entering the United States in the first place, toughen penalties over a range of terrorist crimes and increase controls over biological and chemical weapons.
May 17 Meganís Law
The President signed Meganís law to require states to notify communities when a dangerous sexual predator resides or moves to the community. The passage of Meganís Law built on provisions contained in the 1994 Crime Bill, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which promoted the establishment of state sex offender registration systems for child molesters and other sexually violent offenders.
July 16 Moving Welfare Recipients to Work
President Clinton took the first national steps to require welfare recipients to move to work. An executive memorandum issued by the President required participants in federal training programs for welfare recipients to work to agree to go to work within two years or face the prospect of losing their federal assistance. (Exec. Memorandum 7/16/96)
August 3 Food Quality Protection Act Signed
This Act established the toughest standards for pesticide residues in food ever, and for the first times required that the standards take into account special risks to children. (PL 104-170, signed 8/3/96)
August 6 Safe Drinking Water Act
Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act required the strongest standards of safety and purity in Americaís drinking water while establishing a revolving loan fund to help communities upgrade their water treatment facilities. (PL 104-182, signed 8/6/96)
August 20 Minimum Wage Increased
President Clinton and Vice President Gore fought for and won a 90-cent per hour increase in the minimum wage — increasing wages for 10 million workers. This increase was the first in 6 years and in 1996 it was the largest single-year increase ever. (PL 104-134, signed 8/20/96)
August 21 Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Reform (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
This bipartisan health insurance reform bill prevents individuals from being denied coverage because they have a preexisting medical condition. It requires insurance companies to sell coverage to small employer groups and to individuals who lose group coverage without regard to their health risk status. It also prohibits discrimination in enrollment and premiums against employees and their dependents based on health status. Finally, it requires insurers to renew the policies they sell to groups and individuals. As many as 25 million people have benefited from the greater flexibility that this law ensures. (PL 104-191, signed 8/21/96)
  Requiring Mental Health Parity for Annual and Lifetime Insurance Limits
To help eliminate discrimination against individuals with mental illnesses, the President enacted legislation containing provisions prohibiting health plans from establishing separate lifetime and annual limits for mental health coverage.
  New Protections for Mothers and Newborns
The President signed into law common sense legislation that requires health plans to allow new mothers to remain in the hospital for at least 48 hours following most normal deliveries and 96 hours after a Cesarean section.
  Eliminating the Discriminatory Tax Treatment of the Self- Employed
HIPAA increased the tax deduction from 30 percent to 80 percent for the approximately 10 million Americans who are self-employed. The President also signed into law a provision to phase it in to 100 percent in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
  Fighting Fraud and Waste in Medicare
The Kennedy-Kassenbaum legislation created a new stable source of funding to fight fraud and abuse that is coordinated by the HHS Office of the Inspector General and the Department of Justice. Since its passage, nearly $1.6 billion in fraud and abuse savings has been returned to the Medicare Trust Fund. Since 1993, the Clinton Administration has assigned more federal prosecutors and FBI agents to fight health care fraud than ever before. As a result, convictions have gone up a full 410 percent saving more than $50 billion in health care claims.
August 22 Welfare Reform Enacted
President Clinton kept his promise to end welfare as we know it by requiring welfare recipients to work, limiting the time they can stay on welfare, and providing child care and health care to help them make the move from welfare to work. The landmark bipartisan welfare reform law signed by the President also enacted tough new child support enforcement measures proposed by the President. Since January 1993, the number of people on welfare has fallen by nearly 60 percent, from 14.1 million to 5.8 million, the smallest welfare rolls in 32 years, and millions of parents have joined the workforce. (PL 104-193, signed 8/22/96)
September 5 Designated Commission to Design Patientsí Bill of Rights
President Clinton created the National Commission on Health Care Quality and charged it with studying the need for consumer protections and ways to guarantee the quality of care. Commission members represented government, consumers, health care providers, insurers, and businesses. The recommendations of the Commission formed the basis for the Patientsí Bill of Rights. (Exec. Order 13017)
September 18 Created Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
The creation of this National Monument preserved unspoiled remote canyons and extensive geologic and world-class paleontological sites. President Clinton was the first President to designate a National Monument since 1978 and throughout his term the President has protected more land as national monuments in the lower 48 states — over 4.6 million acres — than any president in history. (Presidential Proclamation, 9/18/96)
 
1997
February 19 Launched Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
The President unveiled his National Drug Control Strategy that set forth a long-term national effort to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences. Highlights of the Strategy included: a new $175 million national media campaign targeting illegal drug use by youth; 500 additional border patrol agents to stem the flow of illegal drugs across the Southwest Border; and $40 million for counter-drug programs in Peru — the primary cocaine source country.
March 4 Banned Federal Research on Human Cloning
Because of the profound ethical issues raised by advances in cloning technology, the President issued a memorandum prohibiting the use of federal funds to clone human beings and urged the entire scientific and medical community to adopt a voluntary moratorium on the cloning of human beings. (Exec. Memorandum, 3/4/97)
April 24 Chemical Weapons Convention Ratified
The Senate ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, which makes the production, acquisition, stockpiling, transfer and use of chemical weapons illegal. (Ratified 4/24/97)
May 20 Created the Welfare to Work Partnership
The Welfare to Work Partnership was launched at the Presidentís urging to lead the national business effort to hire people from the welfare rolls. Now 20,000 businesses strong, the Partnership has helped an estimated 1.1 million welfare recipients move to employment. Under Vice President Goreís leadership, the Administration has also done its fair share, hiring 50,000 welfare recipients, and has fostered partnerships between employers and community and faith-based organizations that help families move from welfare to work.
June 4 Individuals With Disabilities Education Act Reauthorized
The expanded IDEA applies the same high academic standards for all children, ensuring that children with disabilities learn the same things with the same curricula and the same assessments as all other children. It also ensures that more children with disabilities can be in regular classrooms and take part in all school functions including field trips and extracurricular activities. (Signed 6/4/97)
June 12 Established the Initiative for One America
To help facilitate a national dialogue aimed at narrowing Americaís racial divide, the President appointed a seven-member Advisory Board on Race. Over the next 15 months, Board members, individually and in teams, held hundreds of meetings involving thousands of people in every region of the country. They submitted several policy proposals that have guided the Administration in its effort to close the racial gaps that still exist in America. These include increased civil rights enforcement, increased early childhood education and undertaking efforts to make sure all Americans benefit from our countryís prosperity. The work of the Advisory Board also led to the creation of the One America Office in the White House to promote the Presidentís goals of educating the American public about race, encourage racial reconciliation through national dialogue on race, identify policies that can expand opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities, and coordinate the work of the White House and federal agencies to carry out the Presidentís vision of One America.
July 16 Stronger Air Quality Regulations Released
The President approved the strongest air quality standards in history to control pollution from smog and soot. The standards could prevent 15,000 premature deaths every year and will improve the lives of millions of Americans suffering from respiratory illness. Enforcement of the new standards has been delayed by court action. (7/16/97)
August 5 Balanced Budget Agreement Reached
In February, the President submitted the first plan to finish the job of eliminating the deficit and the balanced budget in 27 years. On August 5th, he signed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which finished the job of eliminating the $290 billion budget deficit. (PL 105-34, signed 8/5/97)
  $500 per Child Tax Credit
As part of the Balanced Budget Agreement, the President secured a $500 per child tax credit for approximately 27 million families with children under 17, including thirteen million children from families with incomes below $30,000. (PL 105-34, signed 8/5/97)
  Childrenís Health Insurance Program Created
At the urging of the Clinton-Gore Administration, Congress invested $48 billion for the State Childrenís Health Insurance Program — the single largest investment in health care for children since the enactment of Medicaid in 1965. This new program, together with Medicaid, will provide meaningful health care coverage for up to five million previously uninsured children — including prescription drugs, vision, hearing, and mental health services. Within three years of enactment, all 50 states have implemented S-CHIP programs, and over 2 million children have been covered. In addition, the number of states covering children up to 200 percent of poverty increased by more than sevenfold — to 30 states — during that time. (PL 105-34, signed 8/5/97)
  Strengthening the Medicare Trust Fund
When the President came into office, Medicare was projected to become insolvent in 1999. The Balanced Budget Act extended the life of the Trust Fund by an additional 10 years resulting in the longest Medicare Trust Fund solvency in a quarter century, extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by a total of 26 years and offering premiums that are nearly 20 percent lower today than projected in 1993.
  Modernizing the Medicare Benefit Package
The BBA included a series of structural reforms which modernize the program, bringing it in line with the private sector and preparing it for the baby boom generation. These reforms: waived cost-sharing for mammography services and provided annual screening mammograms for beneficiaries age 40 and older to help detect breast cancer; established a diabetes self-management benefit; ensured Medicare coverage of colorectal screening and cervical cancer screening; ensured coverage of bone mass measurement tests to help women detect osteoporosis, and increased reimbursement rates for certain immunizations to protect seniors from pneumonia, influenza, and hepatitis.
  HOPE Scholarships/Lifetime Learning Tax Credits
President Clinton proposed and passed the largest increase in college opportunity since the GI bill. The HOPE Scholarship provides a tax credit of up to $1,500 for tuition and fees for the first two years of college. When fully phased-in, the Lifetime Learning tax credit will provide a 20 percent tax credit on the first $10,000 of tuition and fees for students beyond the first two years of college, or taking classes part-time. (PL 105-34, signed 8/5/97)
  Welfare-to-Work Grants
Due to President Clinton's leadership, the Balanced Budget Act included $3 billion over two years for Welfare-to-Work grants to help states and local communities move long-term welfare recipients and certain non-custodial parent in lasting, unsubsidized jobs. This funding, used for job creation, placement and retention efforts, has helped the hardest-to-serve welfare recipients and promotes parental responsibility among non-custodial parents who need to find work to honor their responsibilities to their children.
  Landmark Education Investments: America Reads, Charter Schools, Education Technology
The President succeeded in doubling investments in education technology, increasing charter school funding, expanding Head Start to reach more than 800,000 children, and increasing the maximum Pell Grant by 63 percent, to the largest maximum award ever. The Budget also provided $300 million for the Presidentís America Reads Challenge. Together, these programs are the most significant increase in education funding at the national level in 30 years. (PL 105-34, signed 8/5/97)
  Created 20 more Empowerment Zones and 20 more rural Enterprise Communities
Following Congressí 1994 designation of Cleveland and Los Angeles as EZs, the President requested a Round 2 of 20 new EZs and 20 new rural Enterprise Communities. The Round 2 EZs received expanded tax-exempt bonding authority to increase their ability to stimulate private-sector job creation for low-income residents.
August 9 Created Smoke-Free Federal Workplaces
President Clinton issued an Executive Order protecting Federal Government employees and members of the public from exposure to tobacco smoke in the Federal workplace and encouraged Federal agencies to establish programs to help employees stop smoking. The Clinton-Gore Administration has also made our nationís health a priority by developing the first-ever plan to protect our children from tobacco, raising the federal tobacco tax, and by giving the American people their day in court against the tobacco manufacturers who engaged in decades of deception about the dangers of tobacco.
August 13 Required Drug Companies Provide Adequate Testing for Children
President Clinton directed an important Food and Drug Administration regulation requiring manufacturers to do studies on pediatric populations for new prescription drugs — and those currently on the market — to ensure that prescription drugs have been adequately tested for the unique needs of children.
August 27 America Reads Child Literacy Initiative Launched
The President set a national goal of making sure that every child can read independently by the end of third grade. To reach this goal, the President issued the America Reads challenge, calling for one million tutors — college, university students, senior citizens, and private sector employees — to help children learn to read. In 1997, Congress funded the initiative, with $300 million in grants to help states improve childrenís reading skills. More than two million children have been tutored to read by national service programs such as AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Foster Grandparents.
October 9 Reached Agreement to Provide Child-Safety Locks With Handguns
The President announced an agreement with eight of the countryís largest gun manufacturers to include child safety locks with all new handguns. The voluntary agreement was reached after negotiations between the President, the gun manufacturers and the American Shooting Sports Council. The President had previously issued an Executive Memorandum requiring federal law enforcement authorities to provide child safety locks for their officersí firearms.
November 19 Adoption and Safe Families Act Passed
This bipartisan legislation enacted many of the recommendations of the Presidentís Adoption 2002 report. In order to meet the Presidentís challenge of doubling the number of adoptions by 2002, the Act provides incentives to states to permanently place children in foster care. In 1999, 46,000 foster care children were adopted — more than a 64 percent increase since 1996 and the biggest increase in adoptions since the National Foster Care Program was created almost 20 years ago. (PL 105-89, signed 11/19/97)
November 20 Endorsed the Recommendations of the Historic Quality Commission.
In 1996, the President created a non-partisan, broad-based Commission on quality and charged them with developing a patientsí bill of rights as their first order of business. In October of 1997, the President accepted the Commissionís recommendation that all health plans should provide strong patient protections, including guaranteed access to needed health care specialists; access to emergency room services when and where the need arises; continuity of care protections; and access to a fair, unbiased and timely internal and independent external appeals process. The work of the Commission lay the foundation for subsequent administrative and legislative initiatives to improve patient protections and quality improvement.
November 21 FDA Reform Legislation Signed
The President supported and signed the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, the first major food and medical products reform in 35 years. The Act cut approval times of new drugs in half, simplified the review process for medical devices, expanded participation in experimental treatments for AIDS, Alzheimerís and cancer patients, and protected consumers by ensuring accurate food labeling. (PL 105-115, signed 11/21/97)
December 16 NATO Expanded to Eastern Europe
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright signed protocols for the accession of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO. The expansion of NATO to include these three former Warsaw Pact nations was a historic step in ensuring peace and stability in Eastern Europe. NATO expansion was ratified in May 1998 after it was approved by a strong bipartisan Senate majority.
 
1998
January 7 Child Care Initiative
The President successfully initiated an historic effort to improve child care for Americaís working families. President Clintonís initiative responded to the struggles our nation's working parents face in finding child care that they can afford, trust, and rely on. The Presidentís initiative helped working families pay for child care by more than doubling funding for child care subsidies and nearly doubling funding for Head Start; it built a supply of good after-school programs that will serve 1.3 million children in 2001; and, it is working to improve the safety and quality of care, and promote early learning through the recently passed Early Learning Opportunities Act.
February 20 Implemented the Patientsí Bill of Rights for Federal Health Plans
In order to ensure that 85 million Americans in federal health plans benefit from essential health protections developed by the Presidentís Health Care Quality Commission, President Clinton ordered federal health plans to comply with provisions of the Patientsí Bill of Rights. The Presidentís order guaranteed choice of providers and plans, access to emergency services, participation in treatment decisions, confidentiality of health information and a fair complaint and appeals process. Medicare, Medicaid, S-CHIP, the Indian Health Service, FEHBP plans, the Veterans Administration facilities, and the Military Health System are responding by ensuring that all protections that can be extended under current law be provided.
April 11 Good Friday Peace Accords Signed
President Clinton helped conclude the Good Friday Peace Accords, a historic peace agreement between all the major parties to the long conflict over Northern Ireland. The accord represents the best hope in a generation for a just and lasting peace in Northern Ireland. (4/11/98)
July 16 Child Support Incentives
The President signed into law the "Child Support Performance and Incentive Act of 1998," which built on prior legislative and executive actions to improve child support collections by establishing performance-based rewards for states on a range of key child support goals. The Clinton Administration has taken great strides in promoting responsible fatherhood; since 1992, paternity establishment has tripled and child support collections have doubled.
July 21 Improving Nursing Home Quality
In July of 1998, President Clinton initiated a new nursing home quality initiative that ensures swift and strong penalties for nursing homes failing to comply with standards, strengthened oversight of state enforcement mechanisms, and implemented unprecedented efforts to improve nutrition and prevent bed sores. Finally, the Administration recently instructed states to eliminate corrective periods during which nursing homes could avoid the imposition of sanctions, such as fines, when a nursing home is found to have caused harm to a resident on consecutive surveys, in order to put additional pressure on nursing homes to meet all health and safety standards.
August 7 Workforce Investment Act
Long championed by President Clinton and Vice-President Gore, this bi-partisan legislation was enacted to streamline and bring greater accountability to our nationís job training system. (signed 8/7/98)
October 7 GEAR UP Initiative Created
In his 1998 State of the Union address, President Clinton urged Congress "to support our efforts to enlist colleges and universities to reach out to disadvantaged children, starting in the 7th 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." Congress enacted GEAR UP without a single dissenting vote. GEAR UP provides intensive early intervention services that have helped prepare up to 700,000 students at high-poverty middle schools for college. GEAR UP was included in the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, which also reduced student loan interest rates, saving students about $50 for every $1,000 in debt; supported partnerships between universities and school systems to strengthen teacher preparation and quality; and created the first federal performance-based organization to administer student aid. (signed 10/7/98)
October 21 Class Size Reduction Initiative Launched
After initially refusing to provide any funding at all, Congress agreed to provide $1.2 billion for the first year of the Presidentís new initiative to hire 100,000 new teachers to reduce class size in the early grades to a national average of 18. This initiative is the first comprehensive effort to reduce class size across the nation. (PL 105-277, signed 10/21/98)
  21st Century Community Learning Centers
In 1998, a Clinton Administration initiative launched a series of dramatic funding increases for before- and after-school programs, turning a small demonstration program into one of the most popular Federal education programs. President Clinton won $846 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program for 2001, up from only $1 million in 1997, and it will serve about 1.3 million children.
October 23 Wye Middle East Peace Agreement Signed
After nine days of negotiations at the Wye Conference Center in Maryland, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat signed an agreement that will strengthen Israeli security, expand the area of Palestinian control in the West Bank, and enhance opportunities for the Israeli and Palestinian people. (10/23/98)
October 27 Head Start Expansion and Reauthorization (Human Services Reauthorization Act)
The reauthorization of Head Start paved the way for further quality improvements, doubled participation in the Early Head Start program and moved toward the Presidentís goal of providing quality Head Start opportunities for one million children. (PL 105-285, 10/27/98)
  Individual Development Accounts
In addition to reauthorizing Head Start, the Human Services Reauthorization Act of 1998 also created the Individual Development Account Demonstration Program to encourage low-income families to save for a first home, post-secondary education or to start a new business. (PL 105-285, 10/27/98)
December 12 Global Warming Protocol Signed in Kyoto, Japan
With critical leadership from the Clinton-Gore Administration, 160 nations agreed on the basic architecture of a strategy to combat global warming on December 12, 1997. This agreement is the first time that major nations of the world ever committed themselves to a comprehensive plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
December 16 Air Attacks on Saddam Hussein
Beginning December 16, 1998, American forces attacked Iraqís nuclear, chemical, and biological programs, and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors. Saddam Hussein had announced that he would no longer cooperate with UN inspectors to conduct inspections that would guarantee that Iraq does not try and rebuild its capacity to create weapons of mass destruction.
 
1999
April 29 Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 Signed
Ed-Flex is designed to help districts and schools carry out educational reforms and raise the achievement levels of all children by providing increased flexibility in the implementation of federal education programs. In exchange, states are required to demonstrate enhanced accountability for the performance of all students.
March 12 Clarifying Over The Counter Drug Labels
The President unveiled a historic new FDA regulation that, for the first time, requires over-the-counter drug products to use a new product label with larger print and clearer language, making it easier for consumers to understand product warnings and comply with dosage guidance. The new regulation provides Americans with essential information about their medications in a user friendly way and takes a critical first step towards preventing the tens of thousands of unnecessary hospitalizations caused by misuse of over-the-counter medications each year.
April 27 Education Flexibility Partnership Act Signed
This legislation expanded the Ed-Flex demonstration program to enable all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the territories to form Ed-Flex partnerships, giving states and communities the ability to use federal resources in the ways that best complement local efforts and innovation. Under Ed-Flex, states can waive many of the requirements of federal education programs in exchange for accountability for results.
May 12 100,000 Officers Funded
Under budget and ahead of schedule, the Presidentís goal of funding 100,000 officers was reached. The President's successful community policing initiative has played a key role in producing the longest continuous drop in crime on record. In November 1999, President Clinton secured funding for the first installment of his 21st Century Policing Initiative over Congressional opposition. The new initiative will fund up to 50,000 additional community police officers by 2005 and equip them with new, advanced tools to fight crime. (PL 106-113, signed 11/29/99)
June 16 Leading the World in Eliminating Child Labor
In June 1999, the President traveled to the International Labor Organization Conference in Geneva, Switzerland to urge adoption of an historic international convention that would ban the worst forms of child labor. The next day, the Child Labor Convention was unanimously adopted by delegates at the conference. It represents the largest investment in American history to end abusive child labor around the globe.
June 20 Achieving Victory in Kosovo
President Clinton led the NATO Alliance in a 79-day air war that expelled Serb forces from Kosovo and restored self-government to the province, ending a decade of repression and reversing Slobodan Milosevicís brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing. In the face of Allied unity, American military superiority, and strong Presidential leadership, Milosevic withdrew his troops and permitted international peacekeepers to begin returning refugees. (3/24-6/20/99)
October 29 Medical Privacy Protections Announced
President Clinton announced new regulations to protect the privacy of personal medical records. The Presidentís action gave consumers greater access to and control over their records, restricted the disclosure of protected health information to the minimum necessary, and established new disclosure requirements for researchers and others seeking access to health records.
November 12 Financial Modernization Legislation Enacted
President Clinton signed the Financial Modernization Act into law, finally revamping a banking system that had been in place since the Great Depression. The new law will increase innovation and competition in the financial services industry, including traditional banking, insurance and securities industries, giving consumers greater choice and lower prices. The President insisted that the new regulatory structure permit banking institutions to expand into these newly authorized lines of business only if they satisfactorily serve the credit needs of their communities, and that the law include many of the consumer privacy provisions he proposed. (PL 106-102, signed 11/12/99)
November 18 Expanded Federal Investment in After-School and Summer School Programs
President Clinton signed a significant increase in 21st Century Community Learning Centers, expanding the federal investment in after-school and summer school programs from a small pilot project. This initiative currently serves over 850,000 Americans nationwide, and will serve 1.3 million children next year.
November 29 Work Incentives Improvement Act Signed
After months of congressional inaction, President Clinton insisted that Congress pass the Work Incentives Improvement Act as a condition of the budget agreement. This bipartisan Act allows people with disabilities to maintain their Medicare or Medicaid coverage when they go to work. This law represents one of the most important legislative advances for people with disabilities since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (PL 106-113, signed 11/29/99)
  Leveraged $90 Billion in International Debt Relief
President Clinton has been an international leader in recognizing and solving the debt problems of developing countries. To meet the commitments he made at the G-7 Economic Summit in Cologne in June and at his address to the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in September, President Clinton secured funds from Congress to leverage over $90 billion of debt relief for developing nations. Along with funds from other creditor nations, this plan tripled the amount of debt relief available to the worldís poorest nations. (PL 106-113, signed 11/29/99)
December 14 Enacted New Legislation to Help Young People Leaving Foster Care
Today, when young people emancipate from foster care, they face numerous health risks, but too often lose their health insurance. The new law grants states the option for these young people to remain eligible for Medicaid up to age 21. HHS issued guidance to all State Medicaid Directors encouraging them to take up this option. (Public Law 106-169)
 
2000
March 17 Historic Smith & Wesson Agreement
The President announced the Administrationís historic Agreement with several cities and counties and the nationís largest handgun manufacturer, Smith & Wesson, to reform the way they design, distribute and market their products. Among the key provisions are new design standards to make guns safer and prevent accidental shootings and gun deaths, such as locking devices on handguns and the incorporation of smart gun technology, and sales and distribution controls to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and to crack down on illegal gun traffickers, such as cutting off dealers that sell a disproportionate share of crime guns and not selling to dealers who sell at gun shows unless background checks are conducted.
April 7 Senior Citizenís Freedom to Work Act Passed
In his January 1999 State of the Union Address the President stated that "we should eliminate the limits on what seniors on Social Security can earn." In 2000, the House and Senate unanimously voted to eliminate the retirement earnings test for people above the normal retirement age. (PL 106-182, signed 4/7/00)
April 15 Created New National Monument To Preserve Ancient Sequoias
President Clinton signed a proclamation creating the Giant Sequoia National Monument. This 328,000-acre monument will ensure lasting protection for 34 groves of ancient sequoias, the largest trees on Earth. (4/15/00)
May 18 Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act Signed
Expands two-way trade and create incentives for the countries of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the Caribbean Basin to continue reforming their economies and participate more fully in the benefits of the global economy. This area forms the sixth largest export market for the United States. (PL 106-200, signed 5/18/00)
June 7 Providing Medicare Reimbursement For Costs Associated with Participation in Clinical Trials
The President issued an Executive Memorandum directing the Medicare program to revise its payment policy and immediately begin to explicitly reimburse providers for the cost of routine patient care associated with participation in clinical trials. HHS was directed to take additional action to promote the participation of Medicare beneficiaries in clinical trials for all diseases, including activities to increase beneficiary awareness of the new coverage option and actions to ensure that the information gained from important clinical trials is used to inform coverage decisions by properly structuring the trial.
June 9 Preserved Four Unique and Irreplaceable National Monuments
President Clinton signed proclamations creating four new national monuments to protect federal lands representing unique, irreplaceable pieces of Americaís natural and cultural heritage. The four are the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon, the Hanford Reach National Monument in south central Washington, and the Ironwood Forest National Monument in southern Arizona.
June 30 Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act Signed
This Act eliminated legal barriers to using electronic technology to form and sign contracts, collect and store documents, and send and receive notices and disclosures. It also contained important protections making sure that consumers shopping on-line are protected to the same extent as paper transactions. (PL 106-229, signed 6/30/00)
July 1 Campaign Finance Disclosure Enacted
President Clinton signed the first new campaign finance reform legislation in 20 years, closing a loophole that allowed tax-exempt groups to use undisclosed donors to pay for political ad campaigns. (PL 106-230, signed 7/1/00)
July 13 Plan Colombia Enacted
President Clinton proposed a new aid package to bolster democracy and combat drug trafficking in Colombia. The agreement will enhance alternative development, strengthen civil justice and democratic institutions, and provide assistance aimed at reducing the flow of cocaine and other narcotics to the United States. (PL 106-246, signed 7/13/00)
October 10 China-PNTR Enacted
This Act was a crucial step to complete a major trade goal of the Clinton-Gore Administration, opening Chinaís markets to American manufactured goods, farm products and services by allowing China to become part of the WTO, forcing it to slash import barriers against American goods and services. The United States agreed to maintain market access policies we currently apply to China. (PL 106-286, signed 10/10/00)
October 24 Providing Health Insurance to Women With Breast Cancer
President Clinton enacted legislation to provide a new Medicaid option to provide needed insurance coverage to the thousands of uninsured women with breast and cervical cancer detected by Federally supported screening programs. This new proposal will help eliminate the current and frequently overwhelming financial barriers to treatment for these women.
October 27 Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000
The President signed this landmark legislation, which expands and strengthens the Violence Against Women Act, passed as part of the Crime Bill in 1994. The legislation also provides new tools and resources to combat the worldwide scourge of trafficking in persons and helps American victims of terrorism abroad to collect court-awarded compensation. From 1993 through 1998, violence against women by intimate partners fell by 21 percent. (PL 106-386, 10/27/00)
  Reauthorizing the Older Americans Act
The Older Americans Act ensures that millions of seniors nationwide have access to meals, nursing home ombudsmen, legal assistance, elder abuse prevention, employment and transportation services that are essential to their dignity and independence. This legislation includes the National Family Caregiver Support Program — a key Administration priority designed to provide respite care and other supportive services to help hundreds of thousands of families who are struggling to care for their older loved ones who are ill or disabled.
November 13 New Worker Health And Safety Rules To Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries Announced
The new rule announced by the Administration is aimed at reducing approximately 1.8 million repetitive stress injuries that affect workers. Based on extensive scientific research and public comment, the Administrationís proposal would save 300,000 workers the pain and suffering associated with these injuries, and save American businesses $9 billion a year in workers compensation and lost productivity. The final rules will take effect January 16, 2001.
December 15 Passed $1.2 Billion for Emergency School Repairs
In the FY 2001 budget, President Clinton won passage of an historic $1.2 billion initiative for emergency school renovation. The initiative will help schools make much-needed repairs, such as roofs, heating and cooling systems, and electrical wiring. The assistance would be targeted to high-need districts and includes $75 million for public schools with high concentrations of Native American students.
  Passed the New Markets Initiative
The FY 2001 budget also includes historic bipartisan New Markets and community renewal initiative -- the most significant effort ever to help hard-pressed communities lift themselves up through private investment and entrepreneurship. With the help of the New Markets tax credit, 40 strengthened empowerment zones and 40 renewal communities, this initiative will spur billions of dollars in private investment, and ensure that every American will share in nationís economic prosperity.
  Budget Includes Important Investments in Health Care
The Presidentís longstanding commitment to expand access to quality health care for all Americans is reflected in the FY 2001 budget, which includes a multi-billion dollar effort to provide low-income children, seniors and people with disabilities, and those leaving welfare for work, with health care coverage. It also expands preventive benefits like cancer and glaucoma screenings for Medicare beneficiaries.

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