WASHINGTON -- President Clinton on Monday proposed billions of dollars in new help for the long-term disabled and the family caregivers who support them, including a $1,000 tax credit for some 2 million American families struggling to tend to relatives.

The tax credit, meant to compensate caregivers for such expenses as adult day care, respite care and reduced work hours, is part of a five-year, $6.2 billion package that the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled at a White House ceremony."Today we announce a critical new initiative to give care to the caregivers," Clinton said.

None of the Clinton plan becomes reality without Congress, which last year rejected the president's attempt at HMO reform through a "patient's bill of rights."

Hillary Clinton said the president's proposal is meant to help those who struggle to balance their own careers and child-rearing obligations with the burden of caring for a disabled or infirm parent or other relative.

"Everyone knows that there is not a substitute for families being able to care for their loved ones," Hillary Clinton said. "But we sometimes forget that caregivers also need care. They, too, carry enormous burdens."

President Clinton's four-part initiative also proposes that the government start offering federal workers and retirees private, long-term care insurance, in the hope that other employers would follow suit. Officials estimate that 300,000 government employees would participate in the model program.

Clinton will ask Congress for $625 million in grants to state and local "agencies on aging," which were created by the Older Americans Act of 1965.