Washington Echoing the campaign themes of President-elect George W. Bush, Senate Republican leader Trent Lott on Saturday outlined education, national defense and tax relief as priorities for Republicans in the new Congress.
"These are three action items which this new Congress working in concert with our new president will take to broaden individual opportunity, promote personal prosperity and foster security for all Americans," Lott said in the GOP's weekly radio address.
First, he said, Republicans want to ensure that every child has a chance to learn, and to make schools accountable to parents. "And if their children are not learning, we will provide parents the opportunity to do something about it," he said.
Bush supports a plan to strip federal funds from the worst-performing schools and make the money available to parents for private education or tutoring, commonly known as voucher programs.
Second, Lott said, military readiness should include a missile defense system to protect the United States from nuclear attack. Training of military personnel also should be increased, he said.
An across-the-board tax cut to help continue growth in the economy also is a priority for Republicans, Lott said in his third point. However, he did not mention the size it should be. Bush has a 10-year, $1.3 trillion tax relief proposal that includes gradual across-the-board income tax cuts, though Democrats have argued the plan is too large.
President Clinton said Saturday in his weekly radio address that he is making it easier for parents to enroll children in a health insurance program designed for families with too much income to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage
The federal-state program, known as the Children's Health Insurance Program, was created in 1997 to help children get health insurance coverage their families could not otherwise afford. States must provide matching money to use the federal funds.