President Clinton Plans To Announce a Major Proposal That Will Increase the Amount and Quality of Child-Care Available, a New York Times Report Says

The proposals _ to be included in the president's State of the Union Message next month and in his budget request a few days later, is aimed at increasing the supply of child care and improving its quality, the paper said.

Clinton's proposals would include an increase in the federal income tax credit parents can take for child care expenses, a new tax credit for businesses that build or operate child care centers for employees and an increase in federal money given to states to subsidize child care, the paper said.

The proposals would also call for a new federal program to help states check the criminal history of day care center employees and scholarships for child-care workers to subsidize their training and increase their pay.

The paper said Clinton has decided not to propose national child care standards, an issue that has provoked bitter clashes in the past.

White House spokesman Barry Toiv declined to comment Saturday on the specifics in the Times story and told The Associated Press that ``the details have not been decided on yet.''

``The president has already made it clear that he believes it's very important that we make child care safer, more available and more affordable,'' Toiv said.

Democrats said they saw child care as an excellent election-year issue. They said it appealed to voters, especially working women, and split Republicans, some of whom will be receptive to Clinton's ideas.

A bipartisan group of Senate aides has been meeting to draft child care legislation since Congress adjourned for the year Nov. 13.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who is coordinating the meetings, said he hopes to give Clinton the group's proposals before the State of the Union address.

It appears that Democrats and moderate Republicans would have the 60 votes needed to assure Senate approval of child care proposals, such as the president's, conservative lawmakers told the Times. In the House, the outlook is not as bright. Democrats and some moderate Republicans are pushing legislation as well.

Rahm I. Emanuel, a senior adviser to the president, told the Times that Clinton's proposals would build on ``previous accomplishments,'' such as family and medical leave, an increase in the minimum wage and a $500-a-child tax credit.

``Our child care proposals will help the most hard-pressed working families, who are trying to balance work and family,'' Emanuel said.