Speech to focus on plans to help children, poor January 19, 1999 BY JUDITH HAVEMANN AND WALTER PINCUS WASHINGTON POST WASHINGTON–President Clinton will propose in his State of the Union address tonight a $1 billion expansion of the federal government’s efforts to help the nation’s most disadvantaged families move from welfare to work, White House officials said Monday. The officials said the initiative will help about 200,000 welfare families get jobs. “Despite the enormous progress we have made in the last few years in moving people from welfare to work, we need to make an extra effort for the people still on the rolls because they will be the hardest to place,” said presidential adviser Bruce Reed. The initiative is aimed at increasing employment of low-income, absent fathers of children on welfare, so they can pay child support and get involved in their children’s lives. Many of these fathers have prison records, and only 30 percent have held a job in the past year, according to a recent study. Only about 10 percent to 15 percent of children on public assistance receive any formal child support from their absent parent.
Clinton also plans to propose a tax credit of up to $500 per child, age 1 or younger, to offset costs for parents who choose to stay home to care for their kids. The proposal is part of a larger child care package that seeks $18 billion over five years to aid working poor and middle-class families. The administration also will propose $1 billion over five years to improve health care for many of the nation’s 32 million uninsured adults. The money would be used to encourage community clinics and hospitals to work together to keep track of patients and make sure they get needed treatment. Scheduled for delivery in the House chamber at 8 p.m. Chicago time, shortly after his lawyers wrap up their first day of arguments in the Senate impeachment trial, Clinton’s speech will not include a single mention of the word impeachment, aides said.
The president insisted on going ahead with his speech, despite its awkward timing, to demonstrate that he is conducting business as usual even as the Senate considers whether to remove him from office. Among other domestic and foreign policy proposals previewed Monday by White House officials were: * An initiative to bring greater accountability to state and local school systems. Clinton will offer a five-point plan to hold schools accountable for the $20 billion in federal educational spending they receive. The plan would reward districts that make sure teachers are qualified in the subjects they are assigned to teach, enforce classroom discipline, intervene to help low-performing schools, end social promotion of students who have not mastered the material taught during the year and issue “report cards” to parents on issues such as class size, teacher qualifications and student scores. * A near doubling–to $4.2 billion–over the next five years of the U.S.
program helping to dismantle Russia’s aging nuclear and biological weapons, protect facilities holding nuclear materials and create nonmilitary research projects for Moscow’s former weapons builders.