Timeline of Clinton's Presidency

Timeline created by Alix Myers
  • Abolished Restrictions on Medical Research and the Right to Choose

    As his first executive actions, President Clinton revoked the Gag Rule, which prohibited abortion counseling in clinics that receive federal funding to serve low-income patients. He also revoked restrictions on a woman’s legal right to privately funded abortion services in military hospitals, restrictions on the import of RU-486, and restrictions on the award of international family planning grants (the "Mexico City Policy"). The President also lifted the moratorium on federal funding for resear
  • Helped States Take the First Steps Toward Welfare Reform

    President Clinton ordered the Federal Government to make it easier for states to receive waivers from government regulations in order to implement innovative welfare reform projects. Between 1993 and the signing of the Welfare Reform bill in 1996, the Administration granted waivers to a record 43 states. Those waivers laid the foundation of the new welfare reform law by strengthening work requirements, time-limiting assistance and demanding parental responsibility.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act

    The Family & Medical Leave Act — the first piece of legislation the President signed into law — has enabled millions of workers to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a new baby or ailing family member without jeopardizing their job. The previous administration vetoed the bill twice.
  • "Reinventing Government" Initiative Launched

    President Clinton asked Vice President Gore to head the National Performance Review aimed at making government work better for less. The Vice President’s Reinventing Government Initiative has resulted in 377,000 fewer civilian employees in the federal government — the lowest level since the Kennedy Administration — and reduced federal spending as a share of the economy from 22.2 percent in 1992 to a projected 18.5 percent in 2000, the lowest since 1966.
  • Childhood Immunizations

    The President launched a major childhood immunization effort to increase the number of children who were being immunized. Since 1993, childhood immunization rates have reached all-time highs, with 90 percent or more of America's toddlers receiving critical vaccines for children by age 2. Vaccination levels are nearly the same for preschool children of all racial and ethnic groups, narrowing a gap estimated to be as wide as 26 percentage points a generation ago.
  • Motor Voter Registration Signed

    The Clinton Administration made it easier for millions of Americans to register to vote by allowing registration at the same time they get a driver’s license. The Motor Voter law led to the registration of more than 28 million new voters, more registered voters than the passage of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 years.
  • Clinton-Gore Deficit Reduction Plan Enacted

    Passed without a single Republican vote, the Clinton-Gore Administration’s economic plan established fiscal discipline by slashing the deficit in half — the largest deficit reduction plan in history — while making important investments in our economic future, including education, health care, and science and technology research. This legislation also extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by three years.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion/Working Family Tax Cut

    President Clinton succeeded in passing an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, giving a tax cut to 15 million of the hardest-pressed American workers. In 1999, the EITC lifted 4.1 million people out of poverty — nearly double the number lifted out of poverty by the EITC in 1993.
  • Student Loan Reform

    The Clinton-Gore Administration created the Direct Student Loan Program, which cut red tape and administrative costs by eliminating subsidies and bureaucracy in the Student Loan Program. The program has saved taxpayers $4 billion since 1993 and allowed interest rate reductions for students.
  • Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Communities Program

    Created nine Empowerment Zones and 95 Enterprise Communities with tax incentives and $100 million per EZ in discretionary investment dollars to spur local community planning and economic growth in distressed communities. At the President’s request, Congress expanded the program in 1994, 1997, and again in 2000. To date, the EZ program has leveraged over $10 million in additional private investment into EZs.
  • Childhood Immunization Initiative

    In 1992, less than 60 percent of two-year-olds were fully immunized — the third lowest rate in the Western Hemisphere. The Clinton-Gore Economic Plan contained investments to guarantee the health of children and prevent the easily avoidable costs of preventable childhood diseases. Today, the nation's overall immunization rate for preschool children is the highest ever recorded.
  • Brady Act Signed

    After seven years of debate under previous administrations, the President signed legislation requiring a background check before the purchase of a handgun and establishing a National Instant Check System. Since its enactment, the Brady Law has helped to prevent a total of more than 600,000 felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns. Since 1992, the gun-related crime rate has declined by 40 percent.
  • NAFTA Ratified

    President Clinton worked to pass bipartisan legislation implementing the North American Free Trade Agreement, creating the world’s largest free trade zone. Since passage of NAFTA, the U.S. manufacturing sector has created 400,000 jobs, and exports to Canada and Mexico support 600,000 more jobs today than in 1993.
  • Crime Bill Signed

    Enacted the Clinton-Gore Administration’s tough and smart crime fighting strategy. The Bill contained tougher penalties, including "three strikes and you’re out" legislation, helped states build more prisons and increased prevention and victims rights. As a result, the overall crime rate has dropped for 8 years in a row — the longest continuous drop on record — and is now at a 26 year low.
  • Assault Weapons Ban

    President Clinton and Vice President Gore overcame intense opposition by the gun lobby to ban 19 of the most dangerous assault weapons. Thanks in part to the Clinton-Gore Administration’s efforts to take these dangerous guns off the streets, overall gun violence has declined by 40 percent since 1992.
  • Violence Against Women Act

    The Clinton-Gore Administration fought for and signed this bill, which contains new penalties, resources to prosecute more domestic violence offenders, and quadrupled funding for battered women's shelters. The Administration also established a nationwide 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline. This initiative represents the first federal effort to address domestic violence and violence against women.
  • California Desert Protection Act Signed

    The largest land protection bill since 1980 protected nearly 8 million acres of wilderness and created three new national parks.
  • Called for National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

    In his State of the Union address, the President challenged Americans to join together in a national campaign against teen pregnancy. Both teen birth rates and teen pregnancy rates are now at the lowest level on record.
  • Federal Child Support Enforcement Expanded

    The President issued an executive order stepping up federal efforts to collect child support payments. The Clinton Administration’s strategy of encouraging parental responsibility and increasing child support enforcement efforts has doubled collections of child support from $8 billion in 1992 to $16 billion in 1999.
  • First-Ever Comprehensive Plan to Reduce Youth Smoking Proposed

    The Clinton-Gore Administration proposed the first-ever comprehensive plan to reduce youth smoking. The proposal required young people to prove their age to buy cigarettes, banned vending machines in places where minors can go, ended the marketing of cigarettes and tobacco to minors, and required the tobacco industry to fund an education campaign to prevent kids from smoking. The proposal took effect when new FDA regulations were announced on August 23, 1996.
  • Telecommunications Reform Signed

    President Clinton and Vice President Gore achieved the first major overhaul of the telecommunications laws in 60 years. Reforms of the 1934 Telecommunications Act opened up competition between local telephone companies, long distance providers and cable companies; and required the use of new V-chip technology to enable families to exercise greater control over the television programming that comes into their homes.
  • Antiterrorism Law

    The President signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act into law at a ceremony at the White House. President Clinton first sent this legislation to Congress in February 1995 and called for additional antiterrorism measures and actions after the devastation of the federal building in Oklahoma City.
  • Food Quality Protection Act Signed

    This Act established the toughest standards for pesticide residues in food ever, and for the first times required that the standards take into account special risks to children.
  • Safe Drinking Water Act

    Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act required the strongest standards of safety and purity in America’s drinking water while establishing a revolving loan fund to help communities upgrade their water treatment facilities.
  • Minimum Wage Increased

    President Clinton and Vice President Gore fought for and won a 90-cent per hour increase in the minimum wage — increasing wages for 10 million workers. This increase was the first in 6 years and in 1996 it was the largest single-year increase ever.
  • Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Reform (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

    This bipartisan health insurance reform bill prevents individuals from being denied coverage because they have a preexisting medical condition. It requires insurance companies to sell coverage to small employer groups and to individuals who lose group coverage without regard to their health risk status. It also prohibits discrimination in enrollment and premiums against employees and their dependents based on health status.
  • New Protections for Mothers and Newborns

    The President signed into law common sense legislation that requires health plans to allow new mothers to remain in the hospital for at least 48 hours following most normal deliveries and 96 hours after a Cesarean section.
  • Created Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

    The creation of this National Monument preserved unspoiled remote canyons and extensive geologic and world-class paleontological sites. President Clinton was the first President to designate a National Monument since 1978 and throughout his term the President has protected more land as national monuments in the lower 48 states — over 4.6 million acres — than any president in history.
  • Banned Federal Research on Human Cloning

    Because of the profound ethical issues raised by advances in cloning technology, the President issued a memorandum prohibiting the use of federal funds to clone human beings and urged the entire scientific and medical community to adopt a voluntary moratorium on the cloning of human beings.
  • America Reads Child Literacy Initiative Launched

    The President set a national goal of making sure that every child can read independently by the end of third grade. To reach this goal, the President issued the America Reads challenge, calling for one million tutors — college, university students, senior citizens, and private sector employees — to help children learn to read. In 1997, Congress funded the initiative, with $300 million in grants to help states improve children’s reading skills.
  • NATO Expanded to Eastern Europe

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright signed protocols for the accession of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO. The expansion of NATO to include these three former Warsaw Pact nations was a historic step in ensuring peace and stability in Eastern Europe. NATO expansion was ratified in May 1998 after it was approved by a strong bipartisan Senate majority.
  • Workforce Investment Act

    Long championed by President Clinton and Vice-President Gore, this bi-partisan legislation was enacted to streamline and bring greater accountability to our nation’s job training system.
  • Class Size Reduction Initiative Launched

    After initially refusing to provide any funding at all, Congress agreed to provide $1.2 billion for the first year of the President’s new initiative to hire 100,000 new teachers to reduce class size in the early grades to a national average of 18. This initiative is the first comprehensive effort to reduce class size across the nation.
  • Global Warming Protocol Signed in Kyoto, Japan

    With critical leadership from the Clinton-Gore Administration, 160 nations agreed on the basic architecture of a strategy to combat global warming on December 12, 1997. This agreement is the first time that major nations of the world ever committed themselves to a comprehensive plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Air Attacks on Saddam Hussein

    Beginning December 16, 1998, American forces attacked Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological programs, and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors. Saddam Hussein had announced that he would no longer cooperate with UN inspectors to conduct inspections that would guarantee that Iraq does not try and rebuild its capacity to create weapons of mass destruction.
  • Clarifying Over The Counter Drug Labels

    The President unveiled a historic new FDA regulation that, for the first time, requires over-the-counter drug products to use a new product label with larger print and clearer language, making it easier for consumers to understand product warnings and comply with dosage guidance.
  • Achieving Victory in Kosovo

    President Clinton led the NATO Alliance in a 79-day air war that expelled Serb forces from Kosovo and restored self-government to the province, ending a decade of repression and reversing Slobodan Milosevic’s brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing. In the face of Allied unity, American military superiority, and strong Presidential leadership, Milosevic withdrew his troops and permitted international peacekeepers to begin returning refugees.
  • Leveraged $90 Billion in International Debt Relief

    President Clinton has been an international leader in recognizing and solving the debt problems of developing countries. To meet the commitments he made at the G-7 Economic Summit in Cologne in June and at his address to the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in September, President Clinton secured funds from Congress to leverage over $90 billion of debt relief for developing nations.