President Bush plans to send Congress a proposal today to help senior citizens obtain prescription drugs, but will include a message that he would consider broader changes that might speed up a prescription-drug benefit for all seniors, a White House official said.

“We understand that there are many on the Hill who believe it should be done as part of comprehensive Medicare reform, and we will be open-minded on that,” the official said.

The change is a new instance of Bush”s willingness to alter his programs to achieve his broad goals in a Congress where Republicans hold tissue-thin control.

Bush”s first week was devoted to education, and Democrats embraced many of his ideas. But Bush can expect a real battle over the two packages he plans to deliver to Capitol Hill this week.

First is the prescription-drug plan, and next is his proposal to create a White House Office of Faith-Based Action, which would encourage religious institutions to compete to run drug, poverty and other social programs now administered by government agencies. Democrats have objected to the idea on the grounds of separation of church and state.

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