School districts that do not meet these standards risk losing some or all federal assistance, officials said.
"The president's plan marks a sea change in national education policy, for the first time holding states and school districts accountable for progress and rewarding them for results," said Bruce Reed, the president's chief domestic policy adviser, paraphrasing a passage from the State of the Union speech.
Clinton also plans to renew his call for $4 billion in federal spending over five years to build schools and classrooms to relieve crowding and reduce class size in early grades, aides said. He will also ask for more than $1 billion to help pay for the hiring of 100,000 teachers and will seek to triple the funding for after-school programs.
He is also expected to propose:
Budgeting $1.2 billion over five years to help tens of thousands of disabled Americans return to work by making it easier for them to keep their health insurance.
Spending $1 billion in fiscal 2000 to acquire land around national parks and battlefields such as Antietam and Gettysburg and to help communities preserve park lands and open spaces.
Increase defense spending by $100 billion over six years on "readiness" issues, such as training and recruiting and spare parts for weapons systems.
Dedicating $6.2 billion over five years toward long-term care for the elderly and infirm.
Spending $215 million to test and treat inmates and ex-convicts for drug use.
Fixing Social Security
White House officials say the keystone proposals of the 2000 budget are still to come. Last year, the hallmark was his pledge to rope off the burgeoning budget surplus until the White House and Congress come up with a long-term fix for Social Security. That point will have to be made again, Echaveste said, this time in the broader context of addressing the "aging of America" that will encompass such issues as long-term health care and a Medicare fix.
"There's no question he has to say something about Social Security," she said. "It would be like not having the bookend for last year's vow to save Social Security first."
But Echaveste hinted that Clinton would not outline his own detailed reform proposal on Social Security, a program so popular that tampering with it can be politically perilous. "He will take the steps that he feels will advance likelihood there will be bipartisan solution," said.
Pressure is mounting on Clinton to do something dramatic. Democrats are demanding a presidential vision for the future. Even the House Republicans who voted to impeach Clinton are demanding that he now outline specific proposals, in part to give them political cover as they embark on the task of reforming Social Security and Medicare.
"Every president that has successfully changed Social Security or Medicare has relied on a commission or made proposals on his own," said Ari Fleischer, a spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee. "Specifics count."
Republicans need to get beyond impeachment as badly as Clinton does. Senate Republicans met privately this month with Linda DiVall, a Republican pollster, who explained that the party's poor showing in last year's election was due in part to voters' sense that the Republicans had no message other than trying to impeach Clinton.
"The message is, we have to continue to do the work we were sent here to do," said Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, a Maine Republican. "It's important to realize that we have some simultaneous responsibilities."
Added Sen. Paul Coverdell, a Georgia Republican: "The people should be comforted that America is keeping the lights on."
Whether Clinton can sit down with the Republicans who drove his impeachment is still an open question. It is a question the president is likely to address in his State of the Union speech, however obliquely, with references to bipartisanship and shared responsibilities.
"It's up to them," Echaveste said of Republicans. "From his vantage point, he has always extended a hand, and in this State of the Union, he will say we can do this if we will work together."
But it is also up to Clinton, and, advisers say, it is in his interest to put impeachment behind him and extend an olive branch to his accusers.
"Whenever he gets into trouble, this president hunkers down and works harder on his public responsibilities," Marshall said. "The way he thinks he can atone for whatever wrongs he has done is to be a more effective president."
New York Times News Service contributed to this article.
Pub Date: 1/19/99