[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book II)]
[August 3, 1995]
[Pages 1195-1196]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks on Education and an Exchange With Reporters
August 3, 1995

    The President. Good afternoon. I'm glad to be here today with the 
Vice President and Secretary Reich, Secretary Riley, Deputy Secretary 
Kunin, Congressman Owens, Congresswoman Pelosi, and all these 
distinguished education leaders.
    The Secretary of Education is going to present me his draft report 
on the condition of education today. And since the House is about to 
vote on the education funding bill, I thought it was appropriate to make 
a brief statement.
    This is a critical time for American education for at least two 
reasons. First of all, everybody knows that the level of education and 
skills of our work force will determine their ability to get and keep 
good jobs and to have a secure future. Secondly, the number of children 
in our schools is once again rising. Today, one in four Americans is in 
school. The need for skills development is greater than ever, and the 
number of people who need it is larger than ever.
    I have made a proposal on education which shows that you can balance 
the budget and fully fund education and training in a way that is good 
for the economy. It's good for the economy to balance the budget; it's 
good for the economy to invest in education. And it is what we owe to 
our young people and to older people who need further education and 
training to get better jobs.
    Our balanced budget actually increases education $41 billion over 
the next 7 years. The bill being voted on today in the House does 
exactly the reverse. It dramatically cuts education--$36 billion. It 
would take 180,000 children off Head Start. It would end funding for 
Goals 2000, which raises standards and shrinks class size, which is 
terribly important. It would cut one million children who are poor out 
of the benefits of the Title I program. It would cut 300,000 low-income 
students out of Pell grants for college. It would target almost 600,000 
unemployed and underemployed adults who won't be able to get job-
training programs, mostly in their local community colleges, throughout 
this country. This is wrong. It is simply wrong.
    Before this Congress, education and training have been matters of 
bipartisan common ground. President Bush often talked about how proud he 
was of increasing Head Start. This

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is the first time, as far as I know, in the history of the Head Start 
program when the Congress is poised to reduce the number of children in 
Head Start.
    The school-to-work program is being cut. It's terribly important. 
There are a lot of young people who don't go to 4-year colleges who need 
the opportunity to get further training after high school and good jobs. 
And of course, what is being done to the college programs and the job 
training programs are simply unacceptable.
    So from preschoolers to adults, this bill is a body blow to their 
future and a body blow to our efforts to create a high-opportunity, 
high-wage economy, not a hard-work, low-wage economy. This is a decision 
today that will affect the incomes of the American people.
    The biggest problem we've still got is that we've got good economic 
performance, but more than half of our people are having stagnant wages. 
This will make the problem worse. Under the guise of balancing the 
budget, we are consigning millions more Americans to a more limited 
future. It is wrong, and I certainly hope it is defeated today.

Bosnia and Croatia

    Q. Mr. President, does it help to have Croatian forces engaging the 
Bosnian Serbs on the western edge?
    The President. Well, we have--what we have cautioned the Croatians 
about is widening the war. We don't want to see a widening of the war. 
We understand their desire to relieve the pressure on Bihac. And of 
course, that is a commitment the United Nations has made as well.
    So we hope that whatever is done can be done without leading to a 
wider war. One of the prime objectives of the United States has been to 
try to confine the conflict to its present dimensions.

Teenage Smoking

    Q. Mr. President, do you think that smoking among youth is----
    The President. I think that smoking among youths should be 
diminished, and the Government has a responsibility there. I'm looking 
at what our options are, and we'll have an announcement on it before too 
    Q. So you support that idea?
    Q. Is that a yes?
    The President. I think--I told you what I--I think it's a terrible 
problem. We've got to do something about it. It's going up when it ought 
to be going down. If you want to lower health care costs, increase life 
expectancy, and broaden the quality of life for people, reducing teenage 
smoking is one good way to start. There's hardly anything we could do 
that would have a bigger impact. The question is, exactly what should we 
do? I've gotten some recommendations on it, and we'll have a position 
shortly. I just don't have an announcement to make today.

Note: The President spoke at 12:15 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White