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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Clinton Library: State of The Union Address, 1994- Health Care and The Economy

Source: Clinton Library- President William J. Clinton-
Source: Clinton Library: State of The Union Address 1994- Health Care and The Economy

President Bill Clinton's 1994 State of The Union address is memorable to me for several reasons. One because it was President Clinton's last State of The Union in front of a Democratic Congress. Congressional Republicans thanks to the Gingrich Revolution in November, 1994 won back both control of the House and Senate in big numbers that year. But the 1993-94 period of the Clinton Presidency is memorable for me at least for several reasons. President Clinton's first two years were rough politically with deficit reduction, the 1994 crime bill, free trade and so-forth. The so called Whitewater story was starting to become a problem for President Clinton. Obviously the health care reform debacle of 1993-94, that alone probably cost Congressional Democrats the House and Senate. Otherwise Democrats might of been able to at least hold the Senate, but with smaller numbers and perhaps the House as well, but with much smaller numbers. But how a President is doing politically isn't always how well he's doing legislatively, or when it comes to policy.

But if you look at what President Clinton was able to accomplish when it came to policy President Clinton got his major deficit reduction act passed in 1993, GAT and NAFTA, two free trade bills. Family and Medical Leave, middle class tax relief and tax relief for small business's. Reforming how the Federal Government works to cut waste in it as well as its size. The Federal Government got smaller under President Clinton and yes he's called a Liberal Democrat which is fine and good. At least as far as I'm concern, but he's actually a real Liberal Democrat in the real sense. If he was some type of Social Democrat looking for the Federal Government to solve all of the peoples problems for them, government wouldn't of gotten smaller under him and taxes for the middle class wouldn't have been cut. And he wouldn't of cut overall spending and the size of the Federal budget and Federal Government. Those things would've gone up instead.

As I've said before the State of The Union address is an opportunity for the President to layout what the situation of the country is, where we are doing well, what we need to improve on, where we need serious reform. And what the President wants to focus on in the next year. So President Clinton had a lot to report on in 1994. Because he got a lot done in 1993 and the country was making progress even if his approval rating wasn't showing that. Politically, 1994 could be seen as a waste for the Clinton Administration, because of how badly they screwed up the health care debate. At the tend trying to put together a bill that satisfied everyone including Congressional Republicans that probably weren't going to vote for anything other than perhaps the Dole-Chaffy compromise bill in the Senate. And instead what they should've done was go smaller and come up with a Patients Bill of Rights and tax relief for people who can't afford health insurance. But legislatively they accomplished a lot and even got some Republican support on things like trade and Family and Medical Leave.