Good morning. We have entered a busy season here in Washington. Soon, Congress
will be back in session. I will go to the Capitol to report on the state of
our union and I will present a budget that sets the priorities of our government
for fiscal year 2003.
Our highest priorities are clear to all. We must give our military every tool
and weapon it needs to prevail in the war against terror. We must strengthen
our country's defenses against further attack, with a comprehensive program
of homeland security. And we must get our country's economy growing and creating
jobs once again.
The economy is a concern for all Americans, especially for those out of work.
These Americans need extra help. My economic plan proposes an additional 13
weeks of unemployment insurance benefits for workers who have lost their jobs
and direct assistance to protect their health insurance.
My plan is based on the simple truth that people out of work need an unemployment
check; but what they need even more is a steady paycheck. So I have joined with
Republicans and Democrats in proposing concrete steps to create more jobs and
help spur more growth in the economy. The House passed this plan. The Senate
needs to act on it.
Difficult economic times brings hardship to many other Americans, as well: single
moms or disadvantaged young people trying to get into the work force. My budget
seeks to help them, too, by adding resources to vital programs that have proven
their value. One of our government's most effective services is the Women, Infants
and Children program, which counsels mothers on nutrition and health care for
their children. In my budget for the coming fiscal year, I will propose an increase
of $364 million for the WIC program. This will be enough to serve nearly 8 million
women and children each month.
Another vital program is the Job Corp, which provides employment training to
more than 72,000 disadvantaged young Americans. In my budget, I will ask Congress
for an additional $73 million to expand the good work of the Job Corp. This
will help to pay for new residential training centers. We will also secure high
school accreditation for Job Corps training so that more young people can have
the advantage of a high school diploma.
These are some of the elements of the budget I will be sending to Congress.
My budget focuses on the pressing needs of our country and on the basic needs
of our citizens. I am committed to building a strong economy that spreads its
benefits to everyone. This goal reaches beyond politics or party, and I'm confident
that Congress will join me in the work ahead.