When the band plays "Auld Lang Syne" on New Year's Eve 1999, the party will just be starting for the White House and the Department of Education.
President Clinton assigned his staff and the Education Department to lead "a grand educational celebration of the past and future" in 2000 in an executive order he issued last week. "The federal government has an unprecedented opportunity to energize and unite the nation with a renewed sense of optimism in the accomplishments and promise of America," Mr. Clinton wrote in the Feb. 3 order.
Mr. Clinton announced last year that he would create a "millennium project," but last week's announcement was the first sign that the Education Department would play a lead role in organizing it.
The yearlong bash will celebrate accomplishments of the 20th century and milestones of American history, such as the 200th anniversary of the White House's completion and the first meeting of Congress in the current Capitol. The Education Department, along with every other Cabinet-level agency, is also represented on the White House Millennium Council.
The odds also have improved that Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., will be in office at the start of the millennium.
A House task force investigating allegations of voter fraud in her 1996 election announced last week that it had found insufficient evidence to recommend that the House overturn her victory over former GOP Rep. Robert K. Dornan.
The firebrand conservative had contested Ms. Sanchez's election, alleging that it was the result of widespread voting by illegal immigrants.
The investigation uncovered 748 people who voted illegally in the 1996 race, but their ballots were not enough to void Ms. Sanchez's 979-vote margin of victory, Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., the chairman of the three-member task force, said in a statement.
Ms. Sanchez is one of six first-term Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Ms. Sanchez is seeking re-election this year, and Mr. Dornan may seek to oppose her.
--DAVID J. HOFF [email protected]