[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[August 3, 1998]
[Pages 1389-1392]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks on Summer Jobs Program Funding in Cheverly, Maryland
August 3, 1998

    Thank you very much. Let's give Terence another hand. Wasn't he 
good? [Applause] Well, I would say Terence has gotten quite a lot out of 
his job opportunity here. And he made quite a good speech. Maybe he 
needs a summer job with Wayne Curry or Congressman Wynn or Lieutenant 
Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend or the President or something. He's 
very good, I think.
    I'd like to thank my friend, Wayne Curry, for that wonderful 
welcome. I thank Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for her

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sentiments and her passionate work for our children. And I thank, in his 
absence, Governor Glendening for his support for so many good causes, 
but especially the one we have come here to advance today.
    I thank Al Wynn. He didn't even come close to breaking the Barbara 
Mikulski step up here. [Laughter] But every day he comes close to the 
ideal of what I think a Congressman should be.
    I thank the State and the local officials who are here, and I thank 
this hospital. As Wayne said, it's quite an accommodation to take in a 
Presidential visit, and I thank them for making me and Secretary Herman 
and our party feel so welcome.
    I, too, want to say my personal thanks to Secretary Herman for her 
role in settling the General Motors strike. We want to keep the economy 
going, and we don't do very well in America unless all of our 
autoworkers are out there working hard and making cars. And I know we're 
all grateful for that.
    Let me say to all the young people here in this audience on the 
summer job program, both those behind me and on the stage and those out 
here in the audience, I am very proud of what you're doing here, and I 
hope you are as well, because whether you're serving lunch in a 
cafeteria or escorting patients in the hallways, you're not only helping 
this hospital to help others, you're helping to build a better future 
for yourselves, proving that, given the opportunity to work and to 
learn, there is no limit to what our young people can do.
    I want to talk to you today about what we are doing to make sure 
more young people have the chance to continue to participate in summer 
jobs and to continue to improve their education. One of the principal 
reasons I ran for President in 1992 was to make sure that, as we move 
into the 21st century, every young person in this country, without 
regard to their income, their race, their background, or where they 
live, would have the opportunity to make the most of his or her life.
    I wanted to create a 21st century America where the American dream 
is alive for all our people and where our people are coming together, 
across all lines that divide us, into one American community and where 
that gives us the strength to continue to lead the world to greater 
peace and freedom and prosperity. None of that can occur unless we make 
sure that every American has a first-class education, and then, that we 
have an economy that functions so every American can make the most of 
that education.
    Right now in Washington we are preparing the budget that will 
determine how we continue to reform, renew, and advance education next 
year. This isn't just a normal budget. Because of 5 years of strict 
budget discipline in our Nation, this will be the first balanced budget 
in most of your lifetimes, the first one in 29 years. It is also a 
validation of our economic strategy that you can cut the deficit and 
continue to invest money in people, in science and technology, in 
education, in the environment, in building the right kind of future. We 
have to do both.
    To do our part, I have proposed in this balanced budget a 
comprehensive education agenda with high national standards; more 
accountability; more school choice in charter schools; more well-
qualified teachers; smaller classrooms; modernized schools equipped with 
computers and hooked up to the Internet; reading tutors for children who 
are falling behind; before- and after-school programs and summer school 
programs to keep young people learning in the classroom, not lost on the 
streets; and summer jobs programs, like this one, to give young people 
the skills they need to succeed when they leave school and to give them 
something to do and a way to earn money during the summer.
    I believe all these things are necessary to help all of you and 
people like you all across this country live up to their God-given 
potential. I believe they're necessary to make the America we all want 
in the 21st century.
    I am very proud of the fact that today we are enjoying the lowest 
unemployment in 28 years, the lowest crime rate in 25 years; we have the 
smallest percentage of people on welfare in 29 years; and as I've said, 
we're about to have the first balanced budget and surplus in 29 years, 
the highest homeownership in history. I'm proud of that.
    But this a rare moment in American history when we have a lot of 
confidence about our ability to make things work in this country. And we 
have to use it as an opportunity to act, to give everyone--everyone--a 
chance. We can't let this moment pass us by. And we have to make 
progress, both parties together, especially when it comes to the 
interest of children, education, employment, and the future.

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    There are, as you have already heard from previous speakers, those 
in Congress who disagree with this agenda. They have proposed a narrow 
and much more partisan plan that, in my view, is not a step into the 
future but a step backward. At a time when we should be increasing our 
investments in education and training, their plan actually cuts more 
than $3 billion from the plan I proposed. At a time when we should be 
raising standards and challenging our students to meet them and helping 
school districts with a lot of poor children to do just that, their plan 
would prohibit the development of national tests for our schools. At at 
time when more children enter school now than anytime since my 
generation, the baby boomers, were in school, I have proposed to expand 
Head Start. Their plan would deny 25,000 children the opportunity to 
participate in that important early learning program when compared with 
my budget.
    My America Reads initiative, which already involves volunteer 
students from 1,000 colleges and universities around America and many 
churches and other organizations going into the schools, working with 
children one-on-one to make sure they can read independently by the time 
they finish the third grade, it would give thousands more students a 
chance to have a tutor and to help them learn. Their plan would cut that 
program off without a penny.
    At a time when we should be helping young people learn the skills 
they need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow, their plan would make it 
harder for 400 of our school districts across America to buy computers. 
It would cut $140 million from my proposal to expand after-school 
programs that keep young people learning in the classroom, not lost on 
the streets, in the hours of prime activity for juvenile crime. And 
believe it or not, the House Republican budget plan would even kill 
summer jobs programs like this one next year.
    I'm sure when you started this program some of you didn't know how 
rewarding it would be. I was quite amused to hear what Terence said 
about his experience and the dress code. [Laughter] But now that you 
know how rewarding these programs can be, now that you know that there 
is no limit to what you can achieve if you continue to work hard and be 
responsible citizens, you must surely know that other young people like 
you deserve the same chance next year and that you may need this chance 
next year.
    Today, because of the budget we passed last year, there are half a 
million young people just like you in summer jobs programs. And if my 
budget passes this year, there will be half a million next year. But if 
the House Republican budget passes, most of those children would not 
have a job next year.
    And that's not all the Republicans plan to do away with. At a time 
when more families have both parents working, their plan would cut 
nearly $180 million from my proposal to make child care centers better, 
safer places for our children. At a time when we are struggling so hard 
around the world to protect children from being abused in other 
countries to send cheap products here, it undercuts our ability to fight 
the exploitative practice of child labor. At a time when our Nation is 
experiencing extremely severe weather, from crippling cold in the winter 
to record heat waves that have killed more than 100 people already this 
summer, the House Republicans want to eliminate the program called 
LIHEAP that today helps millions and millions of families, millions of 
families with low incomes, a lot of them very vulnerable older people, 
pay for home heating and, this summer, for cooling cost. If this budget 
were to pass, those folks would be on their own.
    This is a time when we ought to be putting progress ahead of 
partisanship. We've got all the evidence in the world that when we do 
that, it works. Look at how America is doing. The House Republican plan 
puts politics ahead of people and puts your future in the backseat. That 
is wrong. And if a bill like the one that is proposed by the House 
Republicans passes, I will veto it.
    I have sent Congress a balanced budget that proves we can maintain 
our budget responsibility and still invest in our people. So far, 
Congress hasn't passed that budget or one of its own. Within less than 2 
months, they'll have to act because our new budget year will start. 
Because of the delay, they may decide to send me a barebones budget that 
fails to expand the critical investments we need to make, from education 
to summer jobs to school modernization to child care. But the last 
budget of the 20th century should be preparing our Nation for the 
challenges of the next. I will not accept a budget that fails to do 

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    There are those in both parties who understand this. It was 
mentioned earlier that the Congress, just last Friday night, passed the 
Senate bid, the ``GI bill'' for America's workers, that consolidates 
scores and scores of disparate training programs into one program that 
will give skills grants to people in their working years, to adults who 
have to go back to school and learn new skills. It was one of the major 
commitments I made when I ran for President in '92. I have worked for 4 
years on this. So there is the capacity there to forge this kind of 
bipartisan relationship. We have to do it for summer jobs and for 
    Let me just close with this--it's not in my notes, but I was looking 
at Terence up there talking, and I thought you might like to know that, 
over 30 years ago, I was involved in two federally funded summer jobs 
programs. I didn't get to wear a shirt and tie to work; I was working at 
our National Park in my hometown doing basic maintenance and clearing 
work. And then I worked in a summer camp for disadvantaged young people 
where I was a counselor, after my first year in college. I loved that 
work, and I loved those kids. And I was very grateful that my country 
gave me an opportunity to do something productive, to learn something, 
and to make a little money.
    I hope when the history books are written, it will look like a 
pretty good investment that was made in a young man from a modest family 
in a small town a long time ago.
    You, too, will do great things. And, in part, it will be because 
your country has believed in you and invested in you. And I don't want 
us to stop. I want us to do more.
    Thank you, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 11:36 a.m. in the Deitz Memorial Auditorium 
at Prince Georges Hospital Center. In his remarks, he referred to 
Terence Newton, who introduced the President; Prince Georges County 
Executive Wayne K. Curry; and Gov. Parris N. Glendening of Maryland. The 
President also referred to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program