August 19, 1992 PRESIDENT BUSH: PROTECTING AMERICAN FAMILIES +quot;We must do everything i

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August 19, 1992 PRESIDENT BUSH: PROTECTING AMERICAN FAMILIES "We must do everything in our power to preserve the institution that nurtures faith, the family. And I am firmly convinced that our greatest problems today -- from drugs and welfare dependency to crime and moral breakdown -- spring from the deterioration of the American family. Families must come first in America." President George Bush March 3, 1992 Summary o President Bush was raised to believe that the family is the most important institution of American life -- that the family is crucial to preserving our nation's culture and values. As he has said, the strength of our Nation is based on the strength of its families. The President believes that strong families sustain us as individuals, and are instrumental in nurturing our children, and instill in them the traditional values of faith, hard work, and responsibility. o The President's initiatives to strengthen America's families include tax incentives to ease the cost of raising children and to help families achieve the American dream of homeownership; empowering parents to choose the best school for their children; new resources to fight drugs and crime, including tougher sentences for criminals and law and order judges committed to imposing them; and, reforming welfare to require self-reliance through work and responsible behavior. o From his lifetime of experience as a father, a businessman, and a public servant, George Bush knows that parents, business, and government must all play a role in strengthening America's families. Parents need to take more responsibility for raising their children and teaching them values; business needs new incentives to create jobs and invest in workers; and government needs to reform welfare, fight crime, and ensure safe communities. Strengthening the Family o President Bush's initiatives will strengthen the family by easing the cost of raising a child, making real the dream of home ownership, and making it easier for families to invest and save for their future. The President understands that providing for families' economic security helps ensure a better future for our children. o The President has pushed Congress to enact measures to help families achieve these goals, including: -- increasing the per child personal exemption by $500 to ease the cost of raising a child; -- enacting a $5,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers to help hundreds of American families achieve the dream of home ownership; -- creating Flexible IRA Accounts that allow penalty-free withdrawals for first-time homebuyers, and to pay for educational and medical expenses; -- increasing funding for the HOPE Initiative (Home Ownership and Opportunity for People Everywhere) to a record $4.8 billion. HOPE gives low-income families new control over their lives, helping them to bur their own homes ore manage government properties; HOPE instills self-reliance and dependency by giving these families a real stake in where they live; -- permitting the deduction of interest on student loans, to help parents afford their children's college education or recent graduates to pay off their debts without defaulting on loans; -- increasing access to a college education by expanding funding for Pell Grants (portable college grants to middle- and low-income undergraduates) for middle-income families. The President's Lifelong Learning and Youth Apprenticeship Acts will also provide new assistance (including a $25,000 line of credit) to help adults improve their job skills and recent high school graduates in the job market. Empowering Families o President Bush is deeply concerned about the stresses that are undermining the American family. His family initiatives will create new opportunities and choices for families to empower parents and ensure economic security. o Education Reform: The President's AMERICA 2000 strategy to revitalize America's schools will give parents new power to hold schools accountable for results. Through world class standards and a new voluntary system of assessments, parents will be able to tell whether their children are achieving. With new accountability, parents will be able to demand change from their children's schools, and with school choice, they will be able to send their children to schools that yield better results. o In April 1991, the President announced AMERICA 2000, his innovative strategy to achieve the National Education Goals. The President's strategy includes: -- creating World Class Standards and voluntary national exams that will let parents know how well their children are performing; -- giving all parents real choices in selecting which school best meets their children's needs. -- Giving reform-minded teachers and principals new freedom from bureaucratic controls to reform schools. -- creating "break-the-mold" New American Schools to help children better learn basic and advanced subjects using computers, videos, and other new teaching methods. The AMERICA 2000 movement is spreading rapidly. Over 1,500 communities and 44 states across the country have accepted the President's challenge to adopt the national goals, develop a strategy to reach them, design a report card to measure their progress, and plan to develop at least one New American School. o School Choice: President Bush believes that parents should be able to send their children to whichever school they think best meets the needs of their child, whether it is a public, a private, or a religious school. President Bush is championing parental choice as the cornerstone of his strategy to revitalize America's schools: it gets parents directly involved in their children's futures, and uses the power of competition to spur innovative thinking by teacher and principals. -- School choice is already working from Milwaukee to Harlem. At least 22 states have implemented some form of choice, with 10 states having enacted major school choice legislation. -- The President's most recent initiative to promote parental choice in education is the GI Bill for Children, a demonstration project that will provide $1000 scholarships to children of middle- and low-income families to be used at the school of their choice -- public, private, or religious. o Head Start: In keeping with his goal of having children arrive at school ready to learn, the President has expanded Head Start, increasing both its budget and the number of children served. This year, the President proposed the largest one-year funding increase in Head Start's history -- $600 million for fiscal year 1993 -- to make sure all eligible four-year olds whose parents choose for them to participate may do so. Should Congress approve the President's request, funding for Head Start will have increased by 127% under President Bush, and an additional 157,000 children will be served over 1991 levels. o Child Care: President Bush secured landmark Child Care legislation in 1990 that helps working families and allows parents choose their child care provider. The bill will increase the income of low-income families by $31 billion in payments and lower taxes over the next five years, helping families afford child care. -- President Bush fought for legislation that provides child care assistance without government bureaucrats regulating care or imposing their decisions on parents. In a significant victory, the President's bill keeps choice of child care in the hands of parents who have the full range of options -- from church day care to a grandparent. o Child Support Enforcement: President Bush is committed to making sure that absent parents meet their financial responsibilities to help support their children. Accordingly, the President has stepped up efforts by the federal government to enforce child support provisions of the Family Support Act, increasing child support collections through mandatory wage withholding and establishing paternity in a many more cases. -- In 1986, child support orders recovered by the federal government totalled just $3.2 billion. Last year, recoveries had more than doubled to $6.9 billion. About $2 billion of that amount was collected on behalf of families receiving welfare. o Health Care: The President's reforms address the two major problems facing the U.S. health care system -- the increasing cost of health care coverage and the inadequate access of working Americans to quality care. The President's reforms make quality care accessible by making it affordable. -- President Bush's plan would make a transferable health insurance credit or tax deduction (up to $3,750) available to moderate and low income families to cover health insurance costs. This deduction is large enough to cover the insurance costs of virtually all Americans. When fully implemented, approximately 95 million citizens would receive this assistance. -- If this plan were in effect today, a family of four earning $30,000 would be able to deduct (or receive a credit) up to $3,750 in health insurance costs. In 1990, for example, private health insurance costs averaged $1,181 per capita. Thus, with the President's deduction starting at $1,250, virtually every American can be certain that their health insurance costs can be covered by the President's deduction. -- The President's plan will also eliminate the problems of "job-lock" and preexisting condition exclusions that inhibit workers from changing jobs for fear of losing health coverage. -- The President's plan will also help self-employed individuals, who until now have only been able to deduct one-quarter of their health insurance costs. Under the President's plan, the self-employed will now be able to deduct 100% of their health insurance costs, or receive the applicable tax credit. o Basic Nutrition for Poor Families: President Bush is continuing his strong commitment to WIC (Women, Infants and Children) to help low-income families. The President's FY93 Budget request represents the largest one year increase ever proposed for the program. Support for WIC has increased 47% since 1989. Creating Stronger Communities and Safer Streets o President Bush affirms the right of every family to be free from fear in their homes, streets, and neighborhoods. To achieve this, the President has led the fight against crime by: -- Supporting the toughest possible sentences for those who inflict fear and pain on American families and an expanded death penalty. -- Undertaking the largest prison expansion program in history, which will double federal prison capacity to ensure violent criminals stay behind bars. -- Appointing approximately 1400 tough prosecutors. Appointing 161 law-and-order judges willing to impose the toughest penalties on violent criminals. -- Establishing "Weed and Seed" projects in 20 cities. Federal agents will help local police reclaim crime- ravaged neighborhoods by "weeding" out drug traffickers and gang leaders and then revitalizing the communities with new opportunity -- investment, jobs, and drug treatment. -- Doubling to 31 the number of cities with Federal anti- gang task forces and transferring 300 FBI agents to work with local authorities on gang crimes. -- Launching "Operation Triggerlock" to prosecute career criminals for use of guns in felonies. 6,454 defendants were prosecuted under Triggerlock during its first year. -- Building and activating new prisons using over $500 million in assets seized from drug dealers. -- Securing new rights through the Supreme Court for families of murder victims, allowing them to testify about the effects of the crime during the convicted murderer's sentencing. Fighting Drug Abuse by Teaching Values o President Bush developed the first National Drug Control Strategy which emphasized preventing our young people from ever trying illegal drugs. To President Bush, drug use is fundamentally a moral issue, a basic question of right and wrong. -- Among persons aged 12-17, current use of any illicit drug is down more than 25% since 1988 and more than half since 1985 (14.9% to 6.8%). -- The number of high school seniors using illegal drugs is at an all-time low, since the annual survey of high school seniors was begun in 1975. -- Current cocaine use by adolescents has declined by 63% since 1988. -- The number of Americans who use drugs has dropped from 14.5 million in 1988 to 12.6 million in 1991. o President Bush is committed to freeing the nation's schools from the devastation of drugs. His National Education Goals and AMERICA 2000 education strategy call for elimination of drugs from schools by the year 2000. The President has urged States to mandate drug-free school zones. -- President Bush doubled Federal support for drug education in the schools to more than $600 million. o Tough Bush-appointed law and order judges are also making a difference. In a recent appeals court case, a defendant convicted of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school objected to the severity of his sentence. Bush appointed judges upheld the stiff sentence, making clear that the mere presence of large quantities of drugs around schools is a sufficient threat to children's safety and welfare. President Bush proposed and Congress passed legislation requiring that every school and college in America that receives Federal assistance must implement comprehensive drug prevention programs and policies. President Bush created a new Community Partnership grant program, which has helped provide more than $100 million annually to start up broad-based community anti-drug partnerships in over 250 American towns, cities, and neighborhoods. President Bush increased funding for drug prevention programs in public and assisted housing communities from $8 million in 1989 to $165 million in 1992. These grants are helping public housing residents to retake their communities from drug pushers and criminals, making them once again safe for children and families. Strengthening Traditional Family Values o President Bush firmly believes that the strength of the Nation is based upon the strength of the family. In the President's view, the commitment of the Nation to its principles begins with the family's task of teaching values to our children. Therefore, many of the President's policies for strengthening America are rooted in initiatives aimed at strengthening the family. o President Bush believes that pornography, like the scourges of drugs and crime, is an affront to the values we hold precious. The President is fighting pornography, particularly child pornography, within the limits of the First Amendment, in order to combat its effects -- violence toward and degradation of women and children. This Administration has been very aggressive in the front-line fight against so-called "kiddie porn" and continues to work with Congress to crack down on purveyors of such pornography. o President Bush believes that every human life is a precious gift and each human being has intrinsic dignity and worth. Therefore, the President opposes abortion except when the life of the mother is threatened or in cases of rape or incest. o The President welcomed the Supreme Court's recent upholding of most of the Pennsylvania law that requires minors to seek permission from their parents before obtaining an abortion -- a provision supported by the vast majority of Americans. President Bush believes this law supports family values in what is perhaps the most difficult question a family can confront by encouraging parents to take an active role, and children to consult with their parents on serious moral issues. o The President believes that states should have the authority to impose reasonable restrictions on abortion within their boundaries. Consequently, he has vowed to veto the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" which would impose a national regime of abortion-on-demand in all 50 states, and would outlaw many the most modest and reasonable restrictions on abortion, such as informed consent requirements. o The President believes that one way to avoid the difficulties posed by abortion is to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancy by promoting conduct that emphasizes personal responsibility such as abstinence and family planning. o The President favors voluntary prayer in school as an extension of our commitment to teach values and has called upon the Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment permitting students, if they and their parents wish, to have a momentary reflection, meditation, or prayer. Reforming Welfare o Welfare was intended to provide as temporary help for those in need, allowing them a chance to get back on their feet. For too many it has become a way of life. o President Bush has established new objectives for welfare to end the cycle of dependency. Requiring those on welfare to work and behave responsibly will make dependent recipients productive again, and will help prevent the current generation of children from becoming another generation of welfare parents. The President is encouraging states to find ways to transform the way welfare works by measuring the success of welfare programs by how many people move onto the job rolls rather than how many move onto the welfare rolls; 550,000 welfare recipients participate in welfare-to-work programs each month. o The President is helping to accelerate welfare reforms by working with states to test pro-family reforms, and removing barriers that limit the extent of reform. Already the Bush Administration has approved waivers for pro-family initiatives in Wisconsin, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, and California. o Wisconsin's welfare reforms highlight the kinds of changes the President believes are important: encouraging teenage parent welfare recipients to work and marry. Also, recipients will be required to participate in education and job placement services, refrain from having children out of wedlock. Wisconsin's plan will increase the reward for taking jobs by increasing the amount of monthly earnings that can be received before AFDC payments are reduced. o To help families escape dependency by saving money and owning property, the President has proposed raising the maximum asset limit to $10,000 for families already on AFDC, and allowing families on AFDC to exclude some income from self-employment to promote self-reliance. These policies will help ensure that once off welfare, former dependents stay off welfare for good. o In 1991, the Bush Administration created the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) under the Department of Health and Human Services to focus federal efforts concerning America's children and families. -- The President's FY 1993 budget request for ACF of $4.5 billion reflects the President's continued commitment to protecting America's children and promoting parental responsibility and family self-sufficiency. rev 1


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