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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Clinton urges voters to save Social Security


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, October 24) -- Fresh from his diplomatic success in brokering an interim peace accord between Israelis and Palestinians, President Bill Clinton on Saturday turned back to domestic issues and called for voter support of his proposed Social Security reforms.

Speaking in his weekly radio address, the president urged Americans to consider his efforts to save Social Security when they vote on November 3 in what he called "one of the most important elections in recent years."

"You will help select a Congress that will determine whether we will seize this moment of prosperity to save Social Security for the 21st century," Clinton said.

With Republican hopes of widening their majority in the House and the outside chance the elections could produce a filibuster-proof Senate for the GOP, the president warned that a "historic opportunity will be lost" if both parties don't reach agreement on Social Security reform.

He said the White House would hold a conference on Social Security December 8 and 9 to help mold a bipartisan approach to saving the federally directed retirement safety net.

Clinton proposed five "core principles" to shape discussions at that meeting. They are:

  • strengthening and protecting the system

  • maintaining fairness

  • ensuring stable benefits

  • protecting disabled and low-income wage earners

  • maintaining fiscal discipline in the program

"For more than 60 years now, Social Security has formed the sacred bond between the generations," Clinton said. "If the Congress you elect in 10 days chooses progress, it can strengthen that shield for generations to come."

In his opening remarks, the president praised the Mideast peace agreement, saying it "strengthens security, increases cooperation against terrorism, and brings both sides closer to the day when they can live together as free people."

For the accord to produce a lasting peace, the Israelis and Palestinians must stand by it, despite pressure, Clinton said.

"But this agreement shows what is possible when the will for peace is strong," he said.


Saturday, October 24, 1998

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