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
* 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
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.