Academic journal article Social Justice

Remarks by the President on Welfare Reform to Officials of Missouri and Participants of the Future Now Program

Academic journal article Social Justice

Remarks by the President on Welfare Reform to Officials of Missouri and Participants of the Future Now Program

Article excerpt

THE PRESIDENT: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THANK YOU, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, for that warm introduction and welcome. And thank you, Yolanda Magee, for presenting me today, and far more importantly, for presenting such a good example of a young American determined to be a good parent and a good worker and a successful citizen.

Thank you, Mr. Kemper, for giving her a chance to be all that. Thank you, Congressman Wheat, for your leadership on welfare reform. And thank you, Mayor Cleaver, for your leadership on this issue.

Thank you, Governor Carnahan, for proving once again that the states, just as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson intended, are still the laboratories of democracy, still capable of leading the way to change things that don't work in this country, and to unleash the potential of our citizens. This is a remarkabl welfare reform plan that you have put together.

I'd like to thank also Secretary Shalala for her work here. Many people in the White House and in the Department of Health and Human Services worked with people all over America in putting this welfare reform plan together today. I thank them all.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is an important day for me because I have worked on this issue for about 14 years and I care a great deal about it. I came out here to the heart of America, to a bank where Harry Truman had his first job, to tal about the values that sustain us all as citizens and as Americans: faith and family, work and responsibility, community and opportunity.

Last week, on behalf of all Americans, I took a journey of remembrance -- many of you at least took it, too, through the television -- to honor the sacrifices of the people who led our invasions at D-Day and on the Italian peninsula. I came home from Normandy with a renewed sense, which I hope all of you share, of the work that we have to do in this time to be worthy of the sacrifices of that generation and to preserve this country for generations still to come.

The people who won World War II and rebuilt our country afterward were driven b certain bedrock values that have made our country the strongest in history. Facing the dawn of a new century, it is up to us to take those same values to meet a new set of challenges.

Our challenge is different. Today we have to restore faith in the beginning in certain basic principles that our forebears took for granted -- the bond of family, the virtue of community, the dignity of work. That is really what I ran for president to try to do -- to restore our economy, to empower individuals an strengthen our communities, to make our government work for ordinary citizens again.

I think we've made a good beginning. In the last year and a half, we have reversed an economic trend that was leading us into deeper and deeper debt, les investment and a weaker economy. The Congress, as Congresswoman Danner and Congressman Wheat will attest, is about to put the finishing touches on a new budget which will give us three years of declining deficits in the federal accounts for the first time since Harry Truman was president. (Applause.)

We worked to expand trade and the frontiers of technology, to have tax incentives for small businesses and for working families on modest wages to kee them moving ahead. And the results are pretty clear. Our economy has produced about 3.4 million jobs in the first 17 months of this administration. So we're moving ahead.

We're trying to empower people with new systems for job training and community service and other options for young people to rebuild their communities and go to college. We're trying to make this government work again for ordinary citizens by reforming the way it works with our Reinventing Government Program that will lead us within five years to the smallest federal bureaucracy since John Kennedy was president -- doing more work than ever done before by the federal government that will lead the Congress, I hope, in just a couple of weeks to pass the most comprehensive anti-crime bill in the history of the country; that is helping all of us to restore that bond that has to exist between a government and its people. …

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