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Clinton asks for bipartisan support of Social Security, Medicare plan

February 3, 1999
Web posted at: 5:40 p.m. EST (2240 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, February 3) -- President Bill Clinton said Wednesday he opposes a Republican proposal to spend over $1 trillion of the budget surplus over the next 15 years on a tax cut "that would benefit, clearly, the wealthiest Americans" rather than bolster Medicare and Social Security.

"To govern is to choose. I believe that's the wrong choice. I believe this is the right choice," Clinton said Wednesday at the annual policy meeting of the American Association of Retired Persons.

"You, the American people and the United States Congress will have to decide," he said.

The president called for bipartisan support for his State of the Union legislative agenda aimed at saving Social Security, strengthening Medicare and providing tax relief.

Clinton's proposal calls for 15 percent of the surplus over the next 15 years to bolster Medicare.

Clinton is pushing a plan that would put a majority of the budget surplus -- over $70 billion this year and estimated to increase in future years -- toward the Social Security Trust fund and the Medicare Trust Fund, while also setting some money aside for universal investment accounts and providing tax credits for the needy.

To achieve these goals, said Clinton, will require some difficult choices.

"We have got to work together across party lines to make these decisions. We have to work together across generational lines to make these decisions," he said.

Clinton's plan calls for 62 percent of the budget surplus for the next 15 years going into the Social Security Trust Fund.

"As you know, I have proposed investing a small portion of the Trust Fund in the private sector, to do it in a way that any private or state government pension would do," said Clinton.

He said this would ensure Social Security's soundness for 55 years. He said steps need to be taken to save Social Security for the 20 years beyond that.

The president also wants to eliminate the limits on what seniors can earn from Social Security.

"This costs the trust fund some money in the short run, but over the long term it will actually strengthen the retirement systems of the country and, more importantly, it will strengthen the quality of life of people in their later years," he said.


THE 2000 BUDGET

GOP struggles to pass budget cuts (10-26-99)

Budget debate resumes Monday (10-24-99)

Budget disputes stall amid partisan sniping (9-29-99)

Citizen's guide to the budget impasse (9-29-99)

Housing secretary blasts GOP plan to cut budget (8-26-99)


1999 BUDGET

Clinton unveils his balanced budget (02-02-98)

Republicans criticize new spending in Clinton budget (02-02-98)

The Budget: A detailed glance (02-02-98)


RELATED SITES

The White House: Budget 2000

Overview
Background material
Budget/Fiscal record

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate



MORE STORIES:

Wednesday, February 3, 1999

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