Challenges & Successes

of President Bush and Clinton

by: Leah Schwagerl

Domestic Success: Clinton

Signed the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993- This act made it possible to cut taxes for more than 15 million low income families. This alleviated some financial stress for those families. Meanwhile, taxes were raised on the wealthiest 1.2% of taxpayers. Small businesses were also allowed these tax cuts. In fact, the Omnibus Reconciliation Act worked on 90% of small business. In the 1990's the US was facing numerous economic problems. When suddenly the economy was at a historic productivity point, Clinton decided to c'est la vie, and this ultimately worked in his favor.

Domestic Success: Bush

No Child Left Behind Act- This education reform bill was signed into law on January 8, 2002. This Act "Dramatically increase the role of federal government in guaranteeing the quality of public education for all children in the United States." The No Child Left Behind Act was actually a re-authorization and revision of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act that was passed by Lyndon B. Johnson. The main role of this act was to increase monitoring and implementation of higher funding for poor school districts, higher achievement for poor and minority students, and new measures to hold schools accountable for their students progresses. Many people were concerned about whether or not the states would be able to maintain such high standards for students. The No Child Left Behind Act is all about each state, county, and school taking initiative to maintain satisfactory results.

Domestic Challenge: Clinton

Health Care- Clinton had a hard time keeping health care costs down since they were constantly increasing at an alarming rate. Tens of Millions of Americans did not have health insurance. Hillary Clinton wanted to step forward as First Lady and create a special task force which proposed a government sponsored health care program. "The Plan was defeated after months of debate."

Domestic Challenge: Bush

"No New Taxes"- President Bush promised "No New Taxes" in a speech and then disappointed many when he raised tax revenues to compensate for a rising budget deficit. This could be one of the reasons he lost to Bill Clinton in his attempt at a re-election.

Foreign Success: Clinton

A Writing- David C. Leavy a spokesman on the National Security Council wrote in 1999, "It is unreasonable and unfair to suggest that the White House does not have a foreign policy agenda. Nothing could be farther from the truth. President Clinton is committed to preventing the new isolationism in Congress from paralyzing American foreign policy and is pursuing a broad agenda around the world, including priorities like securing Russia's and China's historic transitions, achieving a comprehensive Middle East peace, easing Indian-Pakistani tensions, developing a missile defense capacity while preserving the ABM treaty, expanding free trade, winning the peace in Bosnia and Kosovo, containing the threat to international security from Iraq and North Korea and meeting new threats to our national security from terrorists and rogue states."

Foreign Success: Bush

Conservative- President Bush maintained a very calm and thoughtful approach to foreign affairs. He was not one to rush to new actions or policy changes. Bush maintained connections and asked for other's opinions before making major decisions. He had an heir of practicality to him. "One example of Bush's conservative and pragmatic approach to foreign affairs occurred early in his administration. In June 1989, the Chinese military suppressed a pro-democracy movement demonstrating in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Using tanks and armored cars, the military crushed the demonstrations and fired into the crowd, killing hundreds of protestors. Although Bush abhorred the Chinese government's violent crackdown in Tiananmen Square, he did not want to jettison improved U.S.-Sino relations by overreacting to events. Many in Congress cried out for a harsh, punitive response to the Chinese government's killing of peaceful protestors, but the Bush administration imposed only limited sanctions. Later in his administration, Bush sent Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, deputy secretary of state, to China to try to repair the damaged, but not destroyed, relationship."

Foreign Challenge: Clinton

Missteps- "Weeks before Clinton took office, outgoing-President George H. W. Bush had sent American troops into Somalia, a country located in eastern Africa. What started out as a humanitarian mission to combat famine grew into a bloody military struggle, with the bodies of dead American soldiers dragged through the streets of the Somalian capital of Mogadishu in October 1993. Public support for the American mission waned, and Clinton announced a full withdrawal of U.S. forces, which took place in March 1994; United Nations (UN) peacekeeping troops remained in the country until the spring of 1995."

Foreign Challenge: Bush

Address to the Nation on Panama- President Bush was a little late on trying to remove Noreiga from power after information about an internal coup de' tat reached the US military. The Bush administration actually originally did not want to get involved because Panama's plan seemed "sketchy and unorganized". Not until later did Bush realize that this was serious and he needed to take genuine action.


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