[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[April 15, 1995]
[Pages 537-538]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's Radio Address
April 15, 1995

    Good morning. This weekend, all across our country, Christians and 
Jews are gathered with their families to celebrate Easter and Passover. 
For them and for every American, Hillary and I wish that this season of 
faith and renewal will also be a time of hope.
    In a few weeks, Congress will return from their own Easter recess 
and begin to sift through all the bills passed by the House and, in some 
cases, those passed by the Senate, too. A lot of that work is good. A 
lot of it I campaigned on in 1992: spending cuts, the line-item veto, 
paperwork reduction, tougher criminal sentences, and greater flexibility 
for the police to do their jobs. These things are also consistent with 
actions already taken by our administration to cut the deficit, the size 
of Government, the burden of regulation; to tighten enforcement on child 
support and college loan repayments; and to give more support to Head 
Start and affordable college loans, national service, and family leave.
    But a lot of these proposals, these new ones, go too far: cuts in 
education and job training, undermining environmental protections, 
undermining our efforts to put 100,000 new police on our streets, 
legislation to permit the sale of assault weapons, and penalties for 
going into court to assert your rights as a citizen. I'm concerned that 
important issues will be lost in all the welter of detailed legislative 
proposals Congress has to consider. So I want to tell Congress and the 
American people what my priorities are.
    There are three areas that I assign the highest priority. They're my 
``must'' list. First is welfare reform. We must pass a bill that reforms 
the welfare system and restores mainstream values of work and family, 
responsibility and community. We must demand work and responsibility by 
setting definite time limits for welfare recipients and enforcing strict 
work requirements. We must promote family and responsibility by passing 
the toughest possible child support enforcement, including our plan to 
deny driver's licenses to parents who refuse to pay their child support.
    We must also give the States more flexibility, building on the work 
I've already done by giving States freedom, 25 of them, from Federal 
rules so they can find new ways to move people from welfare to work. At 
the same time, we have to uphold our values of community and 
responsibility by avoiding proposals that punish children for their 
parents' mistakes.
    Recent proposals by a number of Senators for welfare reform that 
don't penalize children born to teenage mothers are certainly a step in 
the right direction. And the House of Representatives has adopted all my 
proposals for tougher child support enforcement. I appreciate these 
efforts. We have to keep on working, however. All the proposals are 
still too weak on work and on helping people to move from welfare to 
work. We can and must work together to pass a welfare reform bill that I 
can sign into law this year. Delaying reform any further would be a 
betrayal of what the American people want.
    Second on my ``must'' list are tax and spending cuts, the right kind 
in the right amount for

[[Page 538]]

the right people. These tax cuts must be directed at the right people, 
that is, the middle class Americans who need them to help them build a 
successful future. And they must be fully paid for by spending cuts. Tax 
cuts must include a deduction for the cost of college or other education 
after high school.

    Then Congress and I need to work together to go beyond the $600 
billion of deficit reduction we've already enacted. And I've already 
proposed another $80 billion in cuts on top of paying for all the tax 
cuts that I have proposed for the cost of education after high school 
for helping people with raising children and for an IRA which can be 
withdrawn from, tax-free, for the cost of education or health care, 
first-time home buying or caring for an elderly parent.

    We've also worked with Congress on $15 billion of further cuts. And 
I am ready to do more. But we have to focus on our twin deficits--we 
have a budget deficit and an education deficit. And we cannot cut one at 
the expense of the other.

    The third thing I want to do is to build on last year's crime bill, 
not tear it down. We should all be open to new proposals for tougher 
penalties and more support for our police, but they must not be a cover 
for cutting back on our commitment for 100,000 new police officers on 
our street or for repealing the assault weapons ban that would put our 
police and our citizens more at risk. If that happens, I'll veto it.

    More police on the street is the single most effective crime-
fighting tool we know of. And assault weapons have no place on our 
streets. Last year's bill did ban assault weapons in the future, 19 of 
them, whose only purpose is to kill people. But it also for the first 
time gave legal protection from Government meddling to over 650 kinds of 
hunting and sporting weapons.

    Congress must send me a bill that doesn't scale back or repeal the 
efforts so I can sign it and it can become law. There is too much to do 
in crime to play politics with it or to go back.

    Real welfare reform, tax and spending cuts that reduce both the 
budget deficit and the education deficit, and more steps to fight crime, 
not to back up on the fight: those are my top priorities. The first 100 
days of this Congress produced a blizzard of ideas and proposals. The 
next 100 days must get down to the hard task of passing bills that 
command majorities in both Houses, bills that will help to build a 
stronger America, bills that I can sign into law.

    In the coming months, we have an historic chance to make progress on 
the issues of great concern to all Americans. Let's get on with it.

    Thanks for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 4 p.m. on April 13 in the Roosevelt 
Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on April 15.