WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton sent Congress a $1.77 trillion spending plan today for 2000, beginning a new century with record budget surpluses that he would use to shore up Social Security and shower billions in new spending on favored initiatives from education and the environment to child care and the military.

Proclaiming his budget marks a ``new era of opportunity,'' Clinton's blueprint proposes increasing spending for the fiscal year that begins next Oct. 1 by 2.3 percent. Even with the $39 billion increase over the current year, Clinton's budget projects a record $117 billion surplus, thanks to a booming economy.

In fact, Clinton's spending plan forecasts $2.41 trillion in surpluses over the next decade, laying out a vision of a budget landscape the country has not known in 70 years, before the Great Depression, World War II and the Cold War put the United States into a rut of chronic deficits.

``With this budget, our fiscal house is in order, our spirit strong and our resources prepare us to meet the challenges of the next century,'' Clinton proclaimed in a budget message at the front of a massive five-volume set of documents, which this year have a black and white to mark the new era of projected surpluses.

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