Clinton stakes out his vision for 'great nation'

State of the Union Address -- Part 3

January 28, 2000

missile threats while working to preserve our Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.

I hope we can have a constructive bipartisan dialogue this year to build a consensus which will lead eventually to the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

A fourth challenge is to ensure that the stability of our planet is not threatened by the huge gulf between rich and poor. We cannot accept a world in which part of humanity lives on the cutting edge of a new economy, while the rest live on the bare edge of survival. We must do our part, with expanded trade, expanded aid and the expansion of freedom.

From Nigeria to Indonesia, more people won the right to choose their leaders in 1999 than in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell. We must stand by democracies like Colombia, fighting narco-traffickers for its people's lives, and our children's lives. I have proposed a strong two-year package to help Colombia win this fight; and I ask for your support. And I will propose tough new legislation to go after what drug barons value most their money.

In a world where 1.2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, we must do our part in the global endeavor to reduce the debts of the poorest countries so they can invest in education, health and economic growth as the pope and other religious leaders have urged. Last year, Congress made a down payment on America's share. And I ask for your continued support.

And America must help more nations break the bonds of disease. Last year in Africa, AIDS killed 10 times as many people as war did. My budget invests $150 million more in the fight against this and other infectious killers. Today, I propose a tax credit to speed the development of vaccines for diseases like malaria, TB and AIDS. I ask the private sector and our partners around the world to join us in embracing this cause. Together, we can save millions of lives.

Our final challenge is the most important: to pass a national security budget that keeps our military the best trained and best equipped in the world, with heightened readiness and 21st century weapons, raises salaries for our servicemen and women, protects our veterans, fully funds the diplomacy that keeps our soldiers out of war, and makes good on our commitment to pay our U.N. dues and arrears.

I ask you to pass this budget and I thank you for the extraordinary support you have given Republicans and Democrats alike to our men and women in uniform. I especially want to thank Secretary Cohen for symbolizing our bipartisan commitment to our national security and Janet Cohen, I thank you for tirelessly traveling the world to show our support for the troops. If we meet all these challenges, America can lead the world toward peace and freedom in an era of globalization.

I am grateful for the opportunities the vice president and I have had to work hard to protect the environment and finally to put to rest the notion that you can't expand the economy while protecting the environment. As our economy has grown, we have rid more than 500 neighborhoods of toxic waste and ensured cleaner air and water for millions of families. In the past three months alone, we have acted to preserve more than 40 million acres of roadless lands in our national forests and created three new national monuments.

But as our communities grow, our commitment to conservation must grow as well. Tonight, I propose creating a permanent conservation fund to restore wildlife, protect coastlines and save natural treasures from California redwoods to the Everglades. This Lands Legacy endowment represents by far the most enduring investment in land preservation ever proposed.

Last year, the vice president launched a new effort to help make communities more livable so children will grow up next to parks, not parking lots, and parents can be home with their children instead of stuck in traffic. Tonight, we propose new funding for advanced transit systems for saving precious open spaces for helping major cities around the Great Lakes protect their waterways and enhance their quality of life.

The greatest environmental challenge of the new century is global warming. Scientists tell us that the 1990s were the hottest decade of the entire millennium. If we fail to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, deadly heat waves and droughts will become more frequent, coastal areas will be flooded, economies disrupted. Many people in the United States and around the world still believe we can't cut greenhouse gas pollution without slowing economic growth. In the Industrial Age that may have been true. In the digital economy, it isn't.

New technologies make it possible to cut harmful emissions and provide even more growth. For example, just last week, automakers unveiled cars that get 70 to 80 miles a gallon the fruits of a unique research partnership between government and industry. Before you know it, efficient production of biofuels will give us the equivalent of hundreds of miles from a gallon of gas.

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