THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||October 22, 1998|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
UPON DEPARTURE FOR WYE PLANTATION
The South Grounds
8:55 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. The closing gavel hascome down now on the 105th Congress, and I want to take a moment todiscuss what we've done and the unfinished, vital business that stillremains.
Just a few moments ago, I was pleased to sign into lawimportant legislation requested by my administration to encouragestates and to help them to open more innovative, independent publiccharter schools and to hold these schools strictly accountable forresults. This will make sure that other public schools can actuallylearn from the best of these charter schools. That is the right wayto strengthen our public schools.
When I took office in 1993, there was only one charterschool actually operating in America. Now there are 1,000 -- many ofthem helped by previous administration supported legislation. Thislegislation puts us well on our way to creating 3,000 charter schoolsby the year 2000.
On charter schools, Congress did put progress overpartisanship. But on too many other issues, Congress has left townand left the work of the American people behind. This Congress'failure to act in many areas has had real cost for our families.Partisanship killed my proposal to use tax cuts, fully paid for inthe balanced budget, to build or modernize 5,000 schools.Partisanship killed the patients' bill of rights, which wouldguarantee our right to see a specialist; to medical privacy; to thenearest emergency care; to keep your doctor during the course oftreatment; to have medical decisions made by doctors, not insurancecompany accountants.
Partisanship killed tough legislation to crack down onteen smoking, even as teen smoking continues to rise and is thenumber one public health problem our young people face. Partisanshipkilled an increase in the minimum wage, which would give a muchneeded pay raise to our hardest pressed working families.Partisanship killed our best chance in years for tough campaignfinance reform. And partisanship blocked our efforts to make childcare more affordable for working families.
The American people deserve better. I hope when thenext Congress convenes, it will put progress ahead of partisanship ina way that this Congress has not done.
Now I am returning to the Middle East talks on theEastern Shore of Maryland. The hardest decisions now, at last, areon the table. Israel, the Palestinians, the region and the worldhave very much at stake today. I hope the parties will seize thisopportunity and not retreat from the clear moment to capture themomentum of peace, and keep it moving forward.