Wednesday, January 20, 1999

State of the Union address (Take 6)

        With her was someone else who has been very important to the relief efforts.

        You know, sports records are made, and sooner or later, they are 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 are a hero in two countries tonight. Thank you.

        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. 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.

        Tonight, 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 — and extend the Brady Bill to prevent juveniles who commit violent crimes from buying a gun.

        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 guns. Don't let what happened in Jonesboro happen in your town.” It is 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.

        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.

        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 investment to spur clean energy technologies. And I want to work with members of Congress in both parties to reward companies that take early, voluntary action to reduce greenhouse gases.

        Now, 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. 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.

        We must work to renew our national community as well for the 21st century.


Clinton ignores impeachment, lays out ambitious agenda
Tristate congressmen criticize spending proposals
President's issues have local impact
Social Security plan is big, bold and controversial
Clinton cites first lady's 'historic role'
Government to sue to cigarette makers to recover smoking costs
Lukewarm criticism from GOP
President out to reclaim his legacy
Text of State of the Union address
State of the Union address (Take 2)
State of the Union address (Take 3)
State of the Union address (Take 4)
State of the Union address (Take 5)
- State of the Union address (Take 6)
State of the Union address (Take 7)
Clinton's lawyer presents scathing rebuke
Both parties praise president's counsel
Chabot: Ruff got it wrong
Defense low-key till end
GOP collecting, editing queries