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Clinton signs charter school bill

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, October 22) -- President Bill Clinton signed a bill Thursday designed to encourage states to open more independent, public charter schools.

"When I took office in 1993, there was only one charter school actually operating in America," Clinton said on the South Lawn of the White House, before he left to rejoin the Mideast peace talks in Maryland.

"Now, there are 1,000, many of them helped by previous administration-supported legislation. This legislation puts us well on our way to creating 3,000 charter schools by the year 2000," Clinton said.

The president praised lawmakers for putting "progress over partisanship" in passing the charter school legislation, but he also again chastised the 105th Congress for leaving much of "the work of the American people behind" as they recessed.

"This Congress' failure to act in many areas has had real costs for our families," Clinton said. "Partisanship killed my proposal to use tax cuts, fully paid for in the balanced budget, to build or modernize 5,000 schools. Partisanship killed the patients' bill of rights ... Partisanship killed tough legislation to crack down on teen smoking ... Partisanship killed an increase in the minimum wage."

Both the House and the Senate adjourned this week after passing a massive, $520 billion spending bill for fiscal 1999. The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998 was an 11th-hour compromise that kept Congress in town 12 days past its scheduled recess date.

Congressional action on the 13 appropriations bill should have been completed by October 1, the beginning of the 1999 federal fiscal year.


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Thursday, October 22, 1998

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