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                            THE WHITE HOUSE

                     Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                   January 19, 1999
                      STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
                         United States Capitol
                            Washington. D.C. 

9:10 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of
Congress, honored guests, my fellow Americans:  Tonight, I have the
honor of reporting to you on the State of the Union.

      Let me begin by saluting the new Speaker of the House, and
thanking him, especially tonight, for extending an invitation to two
special guests sitting in the gallery with Mrs. Hastert:  Lyn Gibson and
Wei Ling Chestnut are the widows of the two brave Capitol Hill police
officers who gave their lives to defend freedom's house.  (Applause.)
      Mr. Speaker, at your swearing-in, you asked us all to work
together in a spirit of civility and bipartisanship.  Mr. Speaker,
let's do exactly that.  (Applause.)
      Tonight, I stand before you to report that America has created the
longest peacetime economic expansion in our history -- (Applause) --
with nearly 18 million new jobs, wages rising at more than twice the
rate of inflation, the highest home ownership in history, the smallest
welfare rolls in 30 years, and the lowest peacetime unemployment since
1957.  (Applause.)
      For the first time in three decades, the budget is balanced.
(Applause.)  From a deficit of $290 billion in 1992, we had a surplus of
$70 billion last year.  And now we are on course for budget surpluses
for the next 25 years.  (Applause.)
      Thanks to the pioneering leadership of all of you, we have the
lowest violent crime rate in a quarter century and the cleanest
environment in a quarter century.  America is a strong force for peace
from Northern Ireland to Bosnia to the Middle East.
      Thanks to the leadership of Vice President Gore, we have a
government for the Information Age.  Once again, a government that is a
progressive instrument of the common good, rooted in our oldest values
of opportunity, responsibility and community; devoted to fiscal
responsibility; determined to give our people the tools they need to
make the most of their own lives in the 21st century -- a 21st century
government for 21st century America.
      My fellow Americans, I stand before you tonight to report that the
state of our union is strong.  (Applause.)
      America is working again.  The promise of our future is limitless.
But we cannot realize that promise if we allow the hum of our prosperity
to lull us into complacency.  How we fare as a nation far into the 21st
century depends upon what we do as a nation today.

      So with our budget surplus growing, our economy expanding, our
confidence rising, now is the moment for this generation to meet our
historic responsibility to the 21st century.
      Our fiscal discipline gives us an unsurpassed opportunity to
address a remarkable new challenge -- the aging of America.  With the
number of elderly Americans set to double by 2030, the baby boom will
become a senior boom.     So first, and above all, we must save Social
Security for the 21st century.  (Applause.)

      Early in this century, being old meant being poor.  When President
Roosevelt created Social Security, thousands wrote to thank him for
eliminating what one woman called the "stark terror of penniless,
helpless old age."  Even today, without Social Security, half our
nation's elderly would be forced into poverty.

      Today, Social Security is strong.  But by 2013, payroll taxes will
no longer be sufficient to cover monthly payments.  By 2032, the trust
fund will be exhausted and Social Security will be unable to pay the
full benefits older Americans have been promised.

      The best way to keep Social Security a rock-solid guarantee is not
to make drastic cuts in benefits, not to raise payroll tax rates, not to
drain resources from Social Security in the name of saving it.  Instead,
I propose that we make an historic decision to invest the surplus to
save Social Security.  (Applause.)

      Specifically, I propose that we commit 60 percent of the budget
surplus for the next 15 years to Social Security, investing a small
portion in the private sector, just as any private or state government
pension would do.  This will earn a higher return and keep Social
Security sound for 55 years.

      But we must aim higher.  We should put Social Security on a sound
footing for the next 75 years.  We should reduce poverty among elderly
women, who are nearly twice as likely to be poor as our other seniors.
(Applause.)  And we should eliminate the limits on what seniors on
Social Security can earn.  (Applause.)
      Now, these changes will require difficult but fully achievable
choices over and above the dedication of the surplus.  They must be made
on a bipartisan basis.  They should be made this year.  So let me say to
you tonight, I reach out my hand to all of you in both Houses, in both
parties, and ask that we join together in saying to the American people:
We will save Social Security now.  (Applause.)

      Now, last year we wisely reserved all of the surplus until we knew
what it would take to save Social Security.  Again, I say, we shouldn't
spend any of it -- not any of it -- until after Social Security is truly
saved.  First things first.  (Applause.)
      Second, once we have saved Social Security, we must fulfill our
obligation to save and improve Medicare.  Already, we have extended the
life of the Medicare trust fund by 10 years -- but we should extend it
for at least another decade.  Tonight, I propose that we use one out of
every $6 in the surplus for the next 15 years to guarantee the soundness
of Medicare until the year 2020.  (Applause.)

      But, again, we should aim higher.  We must be willing to work in a
bipartisan way and look at new ideas, including the upcoming report of
the bipartisan Medicare Commission.  If we work together, we can secure
Medicare for the next two decades and cover the greatest growing need of
seniors -- affordable prescription drugs.  (Applause.)

      Third, we must help all Americans, from their first day on the job
-- to save, to invest, to create wealth.  From its beginning, Americans
have supplemented Social Security with private pensions and savings.
Yet, today, millions of people retire with little to live on other than
Social Security.  Americans living longer than ever simply must save
more than ever.

      Therefore, in addition to saving Social Security and Medicare, I
propose a new pension initiative for retirement security in the 21st
century.  I propose that we use a little over 11 percent of the surplus
to establish universal savings accounts -- USA accounts -- to give all
Americans the means to save.  With these new accounts Americans can
invest as they choose and receive funds to match a portion of their
savings, with extra help for those least able to save.  USA accounts
will help all Americans to share in our nation's wealth and to enjoy a
more secure retirement.  I ask you to support them.  (Applause.)

      Fourth, we must invest in long-term care.  (Applause.)  I propose
a tax credit of $1,000 for the aged, ailing or disabled, and the
families who care for them.  Long-term care will become a bigger and
bigger challenge with the aging of America, and we must do more to help
our families deal with it.  (Applause.)

      I was born in 1946, the first year of the baby boom.  I can tell
you that one of the greatest concerns of our generation is our absolute
determination not to let our growing old place an intolerable burden on
our children and their ability to raise our grandchildren.  Our economic
success and our fiscal discipline now give us an opportunity to lift
that burden from their shoulders, and we should take it.  (Applause.)

      Saving Social Security, Medicare, creating USA accounts -- this is
the right way to use the surplus.  If we do so -- if we do so -- we will
still have resources to meet critical needs in education and defense.
And I want to point out that this proposal is fiscally sound.  Listen to
this:  If we set aside 60 percent of the surplus for Social Security and
16 percent for Medicare, over the next 15 years, that saving will
achieve the lowest level of publicly-held debt since right before World
War I, in 1917.  (Applause.)

      So with these four measures -- saving Social Security,
strengthening Medicare, establishing the USA accounts, supporting
long-term care -- we can begin to meet our generation's historic
responsibility to establish true security for 21st century seniors.

      Now, there are more children from more diverse backgrounds in our
public schools than at any time in our history.  Their education must
provide the knowledge and nurture the creativity that will allow our
entire nation to thrive in the new economy.

      Today we can say something we couldn't say six years ago:  With
tax credits and more affordable student loans, with more work-study
grants and more Pell grants, with education IRAs and the new HOPE
Scholarship tax cut that more than five million Americans will receive
this year, we have finally opened the doors of college to all Americans.

      With our support, nearly every state has set higher academic
standards for public schools, and a voluntary national test is being
developed to measure the progress of our students.  With over $1
billion in discounts available this year, we are well on our way to our
goal of connecting every classroom and library to the Internet.

      Last fall, you passed our proposal to start hiring 100,000 new
teachers to reduce class size in the early grades.  Now I ask you to
finish the job.  (Applause.)

      You know, our children are doing better.  SAT scores are up; math
scores have risen in nearly all grades.  But there's a problem.  While
our 4th graders outperform their peers in other countries in math and
science, our 8th graders are around average, and our 12th graders rank
near the bottom.  We must do better.  Now, each year the national
government invests more than $15 billion in our public schools.  I
believe we must change the way we invest that money, to support what
works and to stop supporting what does not work.  (Applause.)

      First, later this year, I will send to Congress a plan that, for
the first time, holds states and school districts accountable for
progress and rewards them for results.  My Education Accountability Act
will require every school district receiving federal help to take the
following five steps.

      First, all schools must end social promotion.  (Applause.)  No
child should graduate from high school with a diploma he or she can't
read.  We do our children no favors when we allow them to pass from
grade to grade without mastering the material.

      But we can't just hold students back because the system fails
them.  So my balanced budget triples the funding for summer school and
after-school programs, to keep a million children learning.  (Applause.)

      Now, if you doubt this will work, just look at Chicago, which
ended social promotion and made summer school mandatory for those who
don't master the basics.  Math and reading scores are up three years
running -- with some of the biggest gains in some of the poorest
neighborhoods.  It will work, and we should do it.  (Applause.)

      Second, all states and school districts must turn around their
worst-performing schools -- or shut them down.  (Applause.)  That's the
policy established in North Carolina by Governor Jim Hunt.  North
Carolina made the biggest gains in test scores in the nation last year.
Our budget includes $200 million to help states turn around their own
failing schools.

      Third, all states and school districts must be held responsible
for the quality of their teachers.  The great majority of our teachers
do a fine job.  But in too many schools, teachers don't have college
majors -- or even minors -- in the subjects they teach.  New teachers
should be required to pass performance exams, and all teachers should
know the subjects they're teaching.     (Applause.)  This year's
balanced budget contains resources to help them reach higher standards.
      And to attract talented young teachers to the toughest
assignments, I recommend a sixfold increase in our program for college
scholarships for students who commit to teach in the inner cities and
isolated rural areas and Indian communities.  Let us bring excellence in
every part of America.  (Applause.)
      Fourth, we must empower parents, with more information and more
choices.  In too many communities, it's easier to get information on the
quality of the local restaurants than on the quality of the local
schools.  Every school district should issue report cards on every
school.  And parents should be given more choices in selecting their
public schools.  (Applause.)
      When I became President, there was just one independent public
charter school in all America.  With our support, on a bipartisan basis,
today there are 1,100.  My budget assures that early in the next
century, there will be 3,000.  (Applause.)
      Fifth, to assure that our classrooms are truly places of learning,
and to respond to what teachers have been asking us to do for years, we
should say that all states and school districts must both adopt and
implement sensible discipline policies.  (Applause.)
      Now, let's do one more thing for our children.  Today, too many of
our schools are so old they're falling apart, or so over-crowded
students are learning in trailers.  Last fall, Congress missed the
opportunity to change that.  This year, with 53 million children in our
schools, Congress must not miss that opportunity again.  I ask you to
help our communities build or modernize 5,000 schools.  (Applause.)
      If we do these things -- end social promotion; turn around failing
schools; build modern ones; support qualified teachers; promote
innovation, competition and discipline -- then we will begin to meet our
generation's historic responsibility to create 21st century schools.
      Now, we also have to do more to support the millions of parents
who give their all every day at home and at work.  The most basic tool
of all is a decent income.  So let's raise the minimum wage by a dollar
an hour over the next two years.  (Applause.)  And let's make sure that
women and men get equal pay for equal work by strengthening enforcement
of equal pay laws.  (Applause.)
      That was encouraging, you know.  (Laughter.)  There was more
balance on the seats.  I like that.  Let's give them a hand.  That's
great.  (Applause.)
      Working parents also need quality child care.  (Applause.)  So,
again this year, I ask Congress to support our plan for tax credits and
subsidies for working families, for improved safety and quality, for
expanded after-school programs.  And our plan also includes a new tax
credit for stay-at-home parents, too.  They need support, as well.
      Parents should never have to worry about choosing between their
children and their work.  Now, the Family and Medical Leave Act -- the
very first bill I signed into law -- has now, since 1993, helped
millions and millions of Americans to care for a newborn baby or an
ailing relative without risking their jobs.  I think it's time, with all
the evidence that it has been so little burdensome to employers, to
extend Family Leave to 10 million more Americans working for smaller
companies.  And I hope you will support it.  (Applause.)
      Finally on the matter of work, parents should never have to face
discrimination in the workplace.  So I want to ask Congress to prohibit
companies from refusing to hire or promote workers simply because they
have children.  That is not right.  (Applause.)
      America's families deserve the world's best medical care.  Thanks
to bipartisan federal support for medical research, we are now on the
verge of new treatments to prevent or delay diseases from Parkinson's to
Alzheimer's, to arthritis to cancer.  But as we continue our advances in
medical science, we can't let our medical system lag behind.  Managed
care has literally transformed medicine in America -- driving down
costs, but threatening to drive down quality as well.
      I think we ought to say to every American:  You should have the
right to know all your medical options -- not just the cheapest.  If you
need a specialist, you should have the right to see one.  You have a
right to the nearest emergency care if you're in an accident.  These are
things that we ought to say.  And I think we ought to say, you should
have a right to keep your doctor during a period of treatment, whether
it's a pregnancy or a chemotherapy treatment, or anything else.  I
believe this.
      Now, I've ordered these rights to be extended to the 85 millon
Americans served by Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health
programs.  But only Congress can pass a patients' bill of rights for all
Americans.  (Applause.)  Now, last year, Congress missed that
opportunity and we must not miss that opportunity again.  For the sake
of our families, I ask us to join together across party lines and pass a
strong, enforceable patients' bill of rights.  (Applause.)

      As more of our medical records are stored electronically, the
threats to all our privacy increase.  Because Congress has given me the
authority to act if it does not do so by August, one way or another, we
can all say to the American people, we will protect the privacy of
medical records and we will do it this year.  (Applause.)
      Now, two years ago, the Congress extended health coverage to up to
five million children.  Now, we should go beyond that.  We should make
it easier for small businesses to offer health insurance.  We should
give people between the ages of 55 and 65 who lose their health
insurance the chance to buy into Medicare.  And we should continue to
ensure access to family planning.
      No one should have to choose between keeping health care and
taking a job.  And, therefore, I especially ask you tonight to join
hands to pass the landmark bipartisan legislation -- proposed by
Senators Kennedy and Jeffords, Roth and Moynihan -- to allow people with
disabilities to keep their health insurance when they go to work.

      We need to enable our public hospitals, our community, our
university health centers to provide basic, affordable care for all the
millions of working families who don't have any insurance.  They do a
lot of that today, but much more can be done.  And my balanced budget
makes a good down payment toward that goal.  I hope you will think about
them and support that provision.

      Let me say we must step up our efforts to treat and prevent mental
illness.  No American should ever be afraid -- ever -- to address this
disease.  This year, we will host a White House Conference on Mental
Health.  With sensitivity, commitment and passion, Tipper Gore is
leading our efforts here, and I'd like to thank her for what she's done.
Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

      As everyone knows, our children are targets of a massive media
campaign to hook them on cigarettes.  Now, I ask this Congress to
resist the tobacco lobby, to reaffirm the FDA's authority to protect
our children from tobacco, and to hold tobacco companies accountable
while protecting tobacco farmers.
      Smoking has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars under
Medicare and other programs.  You know, the states have been right about
this -- taxpayers shouldn't pay for the cost of lung cancer, emphysema
and other smoking-related illnesses -- the tobacco companies should.  So
tonight I announce that the Justice Department is preparing a litigation
plan to take the tobacco companies to court -- and with the funds we
recover, to strengthen Medicare.  (Applause.)

      Now, if we act in these areas -- minimum wage, family leave, child
care, health care, the safety of our children -- then we will begin to
meet our generation's historic responsibility to strengthen our families
for the 21st century.

      Today, America is the most dynamic, competitive, job- creating
economy in history.  But we can do even better -- in building a 21st
century economy that embraces all Americans.

      Today's income gap is largely a skills gap.  Last year, the
Congress passed a law enabling workers to get a skills grant to choose
the training they need.  And I applaud all of you here who were part of
that.  This year, I recommend a five-year commitment in the new system
so that we can provide, over the next five years, appropriate training
opportunities for all Americans who lose their jobs, and expand rapid
response teams to help all towns which have been really hurt when
businesses close.  I hope you will support this.  (Applause.)

      Also, I ask your support for a dramatic increase in federal
support for adult literacy, to mount a national campaign aimed at
helping the millions and millions of working people who still read at
less than a 5th grade level.  We need to do this.  (Applause.)

      Here's some good news:  In the past six years, we have cut the
welfare rolls nearly in half.  (Applause.)  Two years ago, from this
podium, I asked five companies to lead a national effort to hire people
off welfare.  Tonight, our Welfare to Work Partnership includes 10,000
companies who have hired hundreds of thousands of people.  And our
balanced budget will help another 200,000 people move to the dignity and
pride of work.  I hope you will support it.  (Applause.)

      We must do more to bring the spark of private enterprise to every
corner of America -- to build a bridge from Wall Street to Appalachia to
the Mississippi Delta, to our Native American communities -- with more
support for community development banks, for empowerment zones, for
100,000 more vouchers for affordable housing.  And I ask Congress to
support our bold new plan to help businesses raise up to $15 billion in
private sector capital to bring jobs and opportunities to our inner
cities and rural areas -- with tax credits, loan guarantees, including
the new American Private Investment Company, modeled on the Overseas
Private Investment Company.  (Applause.)

      For years and years and years, we've had this OPIC, this Overseas
Private Investment Corporation, because we knew we had untapped markets
overseas.  But our greatest untapped markets are not overseas -- they
are right here at home.  And we should go after them.  (Applause.)

      We must work hard to help bring prosperity back to the family
farm.  (Applause.)  As this Congress knows very well, dropping prices
and the loss of foreign markets have devastated too many family farms.
Last year, the Congress provided substantial assistance to help stave
off a disaster in American agriculture.  And I am ready to work with
lawmakers of both parties to create a farm safety net that will include
crop insurance reform and farm income assistance.  I ask you to join
with me and do this.  This should not be a political issue.  Everyone
knows what an economic problem is going on out there in rural America
today, and we need an appropriate means to address it.  (Applause.)

      We must strengthen our lead in technology.  It was government
investment that led to the creation of the Internet.  I propose a
28-percent increase in long-term computing research.

      We also must be ready for the 21st century from its very first
moment, by solving the so-called Y2K computer problem.  (Applause.)
      We had one member of Congress stand up and applaud.  (Laughter.)
And we may have about that ratio out there applauding at home, in front
of their television sets.  But remember, this is a big, big problem.
And we've been working hard on it.  Already, we've made sure that the
Social Security checks will come on time.  (Applause.)  But I want all
the folks at home listening to this to know that we need every state and
local government, every business, large and small, to work with us to
make sure that this Y2K computer bug will be remembered as the last
headache of the 20th century, not the first crisis of the 21st.

      For our own prosperity, we must support economic growth abroad.
You know, until recently, a third of our economic growth came from
exports.  But over the past year and a half, financial turmoil overseas
has put that growth at risk.  Today, much of the world is in recession,
with Asia hit especially hard.  This is the most serious financial
crisis in half a century.  To meet it, the United States and other
nations have reduced interest rates and strengthened the International
Monetary Fund.  And while the turmoil is not over, we have worked very
hard with other nations to contain it.

      At the same time, we have to continue to work on the long-term
project, building a global financial system for the 21st century that
promotes prosperity and tames the cycle of boom and bust that has
engulfed so much of Asia.  This June I will meet with other world
leaders to advance this historic purpose.  And I ask all of you to
support our endeavors.

      I also ask you to support creating a freer and fairer trading
system for 21st century America.  (Applause.)
      I'd like to say something really serious to everyone in this
chamber in both parties.  I think trade has divided us, and divided
Americans outside this chamber, for too long.  Somehow we have to find a
common ground on which business and workers and environmentalists and
farmers and government can stand together.  I believe these are the
things we ought to all agree on.  So let me try.
      First, we ought to tear down barriers, open markets, and expand
trade.  But at the same time, we must ensure that ordinary citizens in
all countries actually benefit from trade -- (Applause.)  -- a trade
that promotes the dignity of work, and the rights of workers, and
protects the environment.  We must insist that international trade
organizations be more open to public scrutiny, instead of mysterious,
secret things subject to wild criticism.

      When you come right down to it, now that the world economy is
becoming more and more integrated, we have to do in the world what we
spent the better part of this century doing here at home.  We have got
to put a human face on the global economy.  (Applause.)

      We must enforce our trade laws when imports unlawfully flood our
nation.  (Applause.)  I have already informed the government of Japan
that if that nation's sudden surge of steel imports into our country is
not reversed, America will respond.  (Applause.)

      We must help all manufacturers hit hard by the present crisis with
loan guarantees and other incentives to increase American exports by
nearly $2 billion.  I'd like to believe we can achieve a new consensus
on trade, based on these principles.  And I ask the Congress again to
join me in this common approach and to give the President the trade
authority long used -- and now overdue and necessary -- to advance our
prosperity in the 21st century.  (Applause.)

      Tonight, I issue a call to the nations of the world to join the
United States in a new round of global trade negotiations to expand
exports of services, manufacturers and farm products.  Tonight I say we
will work with the International Labor Organization on a new initiative
to raise labor standards around the world.  And this year, we will lead
the international community to conclude a treaty to ban abusive child
labor everywhere in the world.  (Applause.)

      If we do these things -- invest in our people, our communities,
our technology, and lead in the global economy -- then we will begin to
meet our historic responsibility to build a 21st century prosperity for

      You know, no nation in history has had the opportunity and the
responsibility we now have to shape a world that is more peaceful, more
secure, more free.  All Americans can be proud that our leadership
helped to bring peace in Northern Ireland.  All Americans can be proud
that our leadership has put Bosnia on the path to peace.  And with our
NATO allies, we are pressing the Serbian government to stop its brutal
repression in Kosovo -- (Applause.) -- to bring those responsible to
justice, and to give the people of Kosovo the self-government they
      All Americans can be proud that our leadership renewed hope for
lasting peace in the Middle East.  Some of you were with me last
December as we watched the Palestinian National Council completely
renounce its call for the destruction of Israel.  Now I ask Congress to
provide resources so that all parties can implement the Wye Agreement --
to protect Israel's security, to stimulate the Palestinian economy, to
support our friends in Jordan.  We must not, we dare not, let them down.
I hope you will help.  (Applause.)
      As we work for peace, we must also meet threats to our nation's
security -- including increased dangers from outlaw nations and
terrorism.  We will defend our security wherever we are threatened, as
we did this summer when we struck at Osama bin Laden's network of
terror.  The bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania reminds us
again of the risks faced every day by those who represent America to the
world.  So let's give them the support they need, the safest possible
workplaces, and the resources they must have so America can continue to
lead.  (Applause.)
      We must work to keep terrorists from disrupting computer networks.
We must work to prepare local communities for biological and chemical
emergencies, to support research into vaccines and treatments.
      We must increase our efforts to restrain the spread of nuclear
weapons and missiles, from Korea to India and Pakistan.  We must expand
our work with Russia, Ukraine, and the other former Soviet nations to
safeguard nuclear materials and technology so they never fall into the
wrong hands.  Our balanced budget will increase funding for these
critical efforts by almost two-thirds over the next five years.
      With Russia, we must continue to reduce our nuclear arsenals.  The
START II treaty and the framework we have already agreed to for START
III could cut them by 80 percent from their Cold War height.
      It's been two years since I signed the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty.  If we don't do the right thing, other nations won't either.  I
ask the Senate to take this vital step:  Approve the treaty now, to make
it harder for other nations to develop nuclear arms, and to make sure we
can end nuclear testing forever.  (Applause.)
      For nearly a decade, Iraq has defied its obligations to destroy
its weapons of terror and the missiles to deliver them.  America will
continue to contain Saddam -- and we will work for the day when Iraq has
a government worthy of its people.  (Applause.)
      Now, last month, in our action over Iraq, our troops were superb.
Their mission was so flawlessly executed that we risk taking for granted
the bravery and the skill it required.  Captain Jeff Taliaferro, a
10-year veteran of the Air Force, flew a B-1B bomber over Iraq as we
attacked Saddam's war machine.  He's here with us tonight.  I'd like to
ask you to honor him and all the 33,000 men and women of Operation
Desert Fox.
      Captain Taliaferro.  (Applause.)        
      It is time to reverse the decline in defense spending that began
in 1985.  (Applause.)  Since April, together we have added nearly $6
billion to maintain our military readiness.  My balanced budget calls
for a sustained increase over the next six years for readiness, for
modernization, and for pay and benefits for our troops and their
families.  (Applause.)
      We are the heirs of a legacy of bravery represented in every
community in America by millions of our veterans.  America's defenders
today still stand ready at a moment's notice to go where comforts are
few and dangers are many, to do what needs to be done as no one else
can.  They always come through for America.  We must come through for
them.  (Applause.)
      The new century demands new partnerships for peace and security.
The United Nations plays a crucial role, with allies sharing burdens
America might otherwise bear alone.  America needs a strong and
effective U.N.  I want to work with this new Congress to pay our dues
and our debts.  (Applause.)
      We must continue to support security and stability in Europe and
Asia -- expanding NATO and defining its new missions; maintaining our
alliance with Japan, with Korea, without our other Asian allies; and
engaging China.
      In China, last year, I said to the leaders and the people what I'd
like to say again tonight:  Stability can no longer be bought at the
expense of liberty.  (Applause.)  But I'd also like to say again to the
American people:  It's important not to isolate China.  The more we
bring China into the world, the more the world will bring change and
freedom to China.  (Applause.)
      Last spring, with some of you, I traveled to Africa, where I saw
democracy and reform rising, but still held back by violence and
disease.  We must fortify African democracy and peace by launching Radio
Democracy for Africa, supporting the transition to democracy now
beginning to take place in Nigeria, and passing the African Trade and
Development Act.  (Applause.)

      We must continue to deepen our ties to the Americas and the
Caribbean; our common work to educate children, fight drugs, strengthen
democracy and increase trade.  In this hemisphere, every government but
one is freely chosen by its people.  We are determined that Cuba, too,
will know the blessings of liberty.  (Applause.)

      The American people have opened their hearts and their arms to our
Central American and Caribbean neighbors who have been so devastated by
the recent hurricanes.  Working with Congress, I am committed to help
them rebuild.  When the First Lady and Tipper Gore visited the region,
they saw thousands of our troops and thousands of American volunteers.
In the Dominican Republic, Hillary helped to rededicate a hospital that
had been rebuilt by Dominicans and Americans, working side-by-side.
With her was someone else who has been very important to the relief

      You know, sports records are made and, sooner or later, they're
broken.  But making other people's lives better, and showing our
children the true meaning of brotherhood -- that lasts forever.  So, for
far more than baseball, Sammy Sosa, you're a hero in two countries
tonight.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

      So I say to all of you, if we do these things -- if we pursue
peace, fight terrorism, increase our strength, renew our alliances --
we will begin to meet our generation's historic responsibility to build
a stronger 21st century America in a freer, more peaceful world.

      As the world has changed, so have our own communities.  We must
make them safer, more livable and more united.  This year, we will reach
our goal of 100,000 community police officers -- ahead of schedule and
under budget.  (Applause.)  The Brady Bill has stopped a quarter million
felons, fugitives and stalkers from buying handguns.  And, now, the
murder rate is the lowest in 30 years and the crime rate has dropped for
six straight years.  (Applause.)

      Tonight, I propose a 21st century crime bill to deploy the latest
technologies and tactics to make our communities even safer.  Our
balanced budget will help put up to 50,000 more police on the street, in
the areas hardest hit by crime -- and then to equip them with new tools,
from crime-mapping computers to digital mug shots.

      We must break the deadly cycle of drugs and crime.  Our budget
expands support for drug testing and treatment, saying to prisoners:  If
you stay on drugs, you have to stay behind bars.  And to those on
parole:  If you want to keep your freedom, you must stay free of drugs.

      I ask Congress to restore the five-day waiting period for buying a
handgun -- (Applause.) -- and extend the Brady Bill to prevent juveniles
who commit violent crimes from buying a gun.  (Applause.)

      We must do more to keep our schools the safest places in our
communities.  Last year, every American was horrified and heartbroken by
the tragic killings in Jonesboro, Paducah, Pearl, Edinboro, Springfield.
We were deeply moved by the courageous parents now working to keep guns
out of the hands of children and to make other efforts so that other
parents don't have to live through their loss.

      After she lost her daughter, Suzann Wilson of Jonesboro, Arkansas,
came here to the White House with a powerful plea.  She said, "Please,
please, for the sake of your children, lock up your gun.  Don't let what
happened in Jonesboro happen in your town."  It's a message she is
passionately advocating every day.
      Suzann is here with us tonight, with the First Lady.  I'd like to
thank her for her courage and her commitment.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

      In memory of all the children who lost their lives to school
violence, I ask you to strengthen the Safe and Drug-Free School Act, to
pass legislation to require child trigger locks, to do everything
possible to keep our children safe.  (Applause.)

      A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt defined our "great,
central task" as "leaving this land even a better land for our
descendants than it is for us."  Today, we're restoring the Florida
Everglades , saving Yellowstone, preserving the red rock canyons of
Utah, protecting California's redwoods and our precious coasts.  But
our most fateful new challenge is the threat of global warming.  1998
was the warmest year ever recorded.  Last year's heat waves, floods and
storms are but a hint of what future generations may endure if we do
not act now.

      Tonight I propose a new clean air fund to help communities reduce
greenhouse and other pollution, and tax incentives and investments to
spur clean energy technology.  And I want to work with members of
Congress in both parties to reward companies that take early, voluntary
action to reduce greenhouse gases.  (Applause.)

      All our communities face a preservation challenge, as they grow
and green space shrinks.  Seven thousand acres of farmland and open
space are lost every day.  In response, I propose two major initiatives:
First, a $1-billion Livability Agenda to help communities save open
space, ease traffic congestion, and grow in ways that enhance every
citizen's quality of life.  (Applause.)  And second, a $1-billion Lands
Legacy Initiative to preserve places of natural beauty all across
America -- from the most remote wilderness to the nearest city park.
      These are truly landmark initiatives, which could not have been
developed without the visionary leadership of the Vice President, and I
want to thank him very much for his commitment here.  (Applause.)

      Now, to get the most out of your community, you have to give
something back.  That's why we created AmeriCorps -- our national
service program that gives today's generation a chance to serve their
communities and earn money for college.

      So far, in just four years, 100,000 young Americans have built
low-income homes with Habitat for Humanity, helped to tutor children
with churches, worked with FEMA to ease the burden of natural disasters,
and performed countless other acts of service that have made America
better.  I ask Congress to give more young Americans the chance to
follow their lead and serve America in AmeriCorps.  (Applause.)

      Now, we must work to renew our national community as well for the
21st century.  Last year the House passed the bipartisan campaign
finance reform legislation sponsored by Representatives Shays and Meehan
and Senators McCain and Feingold.  But a partisan minority in the Senate
blocked reform.  So I'd like to say to the House:  Pass it again,
quickly.  (Applause.)  And I'd like to say to the Senate:  I hope you
will say yes to a stronger American democracy in the year 2000.

      Since 1997, our Initiative on Race has sought to bridge the
divides between and among our people.  In its report last fall, the
Initiative's Advisory Board found that Americans really do want to bring
our people together across racial lines.
      We know it's been a long journey.  For some, it goes back to
before the beginning of our Republic; for others, back since the Civil
War; for others, throughout the 20th century.  But for most of us alive
today, in a very real sense, this journey began 43 years ago, when a
woman named Rosa Parks sat down on a bus in Alabama, and wouldn't get
up.  She's sitting down with the First Lady tonight, and she may get up
or not, as she chooses.  We thank her.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Rosa.

      We know that our continuing racial problems are aggravated, as the
Presidential Initiative said, by opportunity gaps.  The initiative I've
outlined tonight will help to close them.  But we know that the
discrimination gap has not been fully closed either.  Discrimination or
violence because of race or religion, ancestry or gender, disability or
sexual orientation, is wrong, and it ought to be illegal.  Therefore, I
ask Congress to make the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Hate
Crimes Prevention Act the law of the land.  (Applause.)

      Now, since every person in America counts, every American ought to
be counted.  We need a census that uses modern scientific methods to do
that.  (Applause.)

      Our new immigrants must be part of our One America.  After all,
they're revitalizing our cities, they're energizing our culture, they're
building up our economy.  We have a responsibility to make them welcome
here; and they have a responsibility to enter the mainstream of American
life.  That means learning English and learning about our democratic
system of government.  There are now long waiting lines of immigrants
that are trying to do just that.  Therefore, our budget significantly
expands our efforts to help them meet their responsibility.  I hope you
will support it.  (Applause.)

      Whether our ancestors came here on the Mayflower, on slave ships,
whether they came to Ellis Island or LAX in Los Angeles, whether they
came yesterday or walked this land a thousand years ago -- our great
challenge for the 21st century is to find a way to be One America.  We
can meet all the other challenges if we can go forward as One America.

      You know, barely more than 300 days from now, we will cross that
bridge into the new millennium.  This is a moment, as the First Lady has
said, "to honor the past and imagine the future."

      I'd like to take just a minute to honor her.  For leading our
Millennium Project, for all she's done for our children, for all she has
done in her historic role to serve our nation and our best ideals at
home and abroad, I honor her.  (Applause.)

      Last year, I called on Congress and every citizen to mark the
millennium by saving America's treasures.  Hillary has traveled all
across the country to inspire recognition and support for saving places
like Thomas Edison's Invention Factory or Harriet Tubman's home.  Now we
have to preserve our treasures in every community.  And tonight, before
I close, I want to invite every town, every city, every community to
become nationally recognized "millennium community," by launching
projects that save our history, promote our arts and humanities, prepare
our children for the 21st century.

      Already, the response has been remarkable.  And I want to say a
special word of thanks to our private sector partners and to members in
Congress of both parties for their support.  Just one example:  Because
of you, the Star-Spangled Banner will be preserved for the ages.  In
ways large and small, as we look to the millennium we are keeping alive
what George Washington called "the sacred fire of liberty."

      Six years ago, I came to office in a time of doubt for America,
with our economy troubled, our deficit high, our people divided.  Some
even wondered whether our best days were behind us.  But across this
country, in a thousand neighborhoods, I have seen -- even amidst the
pain and uncertainty of recession -- the real heart and character of
America.  I knew then that we Americans could renew this country.

      Tonight, as I deliver the last State of the Union address of the
20th century, no one anywhere in the world can doubt the enduring
resolve and boundless capacity of the American people to work toward
that "more perfect union" of our founders' dream.

      We're now at the end of a century when generation after generation
of Americans answered the call to greatness, overcoming Depression,
lifting up the dispossessed, bringing down barriers to racial prejudice,
building the largest middle class in history, winning two world wars and
the "long twilight struggle" of the Cold War.  We must all be profoundly
grateful for the magnificent achievement of our forbearers in this

      Yet, perhaps, in the daily press of events, in the clash of
controversy, we don't see our own time for what it truly is -- a new
dawn for America.

      A hundred years from tonight, another American President will
stand in this place and report on the State of the Union.  He -- or she
-- (Applause) -- he or she will look back on a 21st century shaped in so
many ways by the decisions we make here and now.  So let it be said of
us then that we were thinking not only of our time, but of their time;
that we reached as high as our ideals; that we put aside our divisions
and found a new hour of healing and hopefulness; that we joined together
to serve and strengthen the land we love.

      My fellow Americans, this is our moment.  Let us lift our eyes as
one nation, and from the mountaintop of this American Century, look
ahead to the next one -- asking God's blessing on our endeavors and on
our beloved country.

      Thank you and good evening. 

               END                      10:27 P.M. EST
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