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THE STATE OF THE UNION 1995 : EXCERPTS: U.S. 'Stronger Than It Was 2 Years Ago'

January 25, 1995| From Associated Press

Here are excerpts from President Clinton's State of the Union Address:

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, members of the 104th Congress, my fellow Americans, again we are here in the sanctuary of democracy, and once again our democracy has spoken. So let me begin by congratulating all of you here in the 104th Congress and congratulating you, Mr. Speaker.

If we agree on nothing else tonight, we must agree that the American people certainly voted for change in 1992 and in 1994. And as I look out at you, I know how some of you must have felt in 1992.

But, I must say that in both years we didn't hear America singing, we heard America shouting, and now all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, must say, "We hear you. We will work together to earn the jobs you have given us."

. . . In another time of change and challenge I had the honor to be the first President to be elected in the post-Cold War era, an era marked by the global economy, the information revolution, unparalleled change and opportunity and in security for the American people.

. . . I am also proud to say tonight that our country is stronger than it was two years ago.

Record numbers of Americans are succeeding in the new global economy. We are at peace, and we are a force for peace and freedom throughout the world.

We have almost 6 million new jobs since I became President, and we have the lowest combined rate of unemployment and inflation in 25 years.

Our businesses are more productive, and here we have worked to bring the deficit down, to expand trade, to put more police on our streets, to give our citizens more of the tools they need to get an education and to rebuild their own communities.

But the rising tide is not lifting all boats. While our nation is enjoying peace and prosperity, too many of our people are still working harder and harder for less and less.

While our businesses are restructuring and growing more productive and competitive, too many of our people still can't be sure of having a job next year or even next month. And far more than our material riches are threatened, things far more precious to us: our children, our families, our values.

. . . Our government, once a champion of national purposes, (is) now seen by many as simply a captive of narrow interests, putting more burdens on our citizens rather than equipping them to get ahead. The values that used to hold us all together seem to be coming apart.

So tonight, we must forge a new social compact to meet the challenges of this time. As we enter a new era, we need a new set of understandings, not just with government but even more important with one another as Americans.

'New Covenant'

That's what I want to talk with you about tonight. I call it the "new covenant," but it's grounded in a very, very old idea: that all Americans have not just a right but a solemn responsibility to rise as far as their God-given talents and determination can take them, and to give something back to their communities and their country in return.

Opportunity and responsibility, they go hand in hand; we can't have one without the other, and our national community can't hold together without both.

Our "new covenant" is a new set of understanding for how we can equip our people to meet the challenges of the new economy, how we can change the way our government works to fit a different time, and above all, how we can repair the damaged bonds in our society and come together behind our common purpose.

We must have dramatic change in our economy, our government and ourselves.

My fellow Americans, without regard to party, let us rise to the occasion. Let us put aside partisanship and pettiness and pride.

As we embark on this new course . . . regardless of party label we are all Americans. And let the final test of everything we do be a simple one: Is it good for the American people?

Let me begin by saying that we cannot ask Americans to be better citizens if we are not better servants. You've made a good start by passing that law which applies to Congress all the laws you put on the private sector, and I was proud to sign it yesterday.

But we have a lot more to do before people really trust the way things work around here. Three times as many lobbyists are in the streets and corridors of Washington as were here 20 years ago.

The American people look at their capital and they see a city where the well-connected and the well-protected can work the system, but the interests of ordinary citizens are often left out.

. . . So tonight, I ask you to just stop taking the lobbyist perks. Just stop. We don't have to wait for legislation to pass to send a strong signal to the American people that things are really changing. But I also hope you will send me the strongest possible lobby reform bill, and I'll sign that too . . . .

Political Reform

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