- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2001

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The House overwhelmingly approved a $343 billion defense bill last night after diverting some money from President Bush's missile-defense program to counterterrorism efforts.
The 398-17 House vote followed bipartisan agreement to cut some funds from the missile-defense program while boosting the money to fight terrorism by $400 million, for a total of about $6 billion. The 17 dissenters included 16 Democrats and one Republican.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Bob Stump, Arizona Republican, called the extra anti-terrorism money "an initial down payment until the president can better assess the long-term needs."
Mr. Bush praised the House action, calling it a "vital step to ensure our nation's security."
Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, credited a new bipartisan spirit in Congress since terrorists attacked the country. He said a "very spirited debate" over missile defense had been expected. "Then America was struck with an abominable act that demanded a united response."
The $343 billion measure, the total Mr. Bush requested, would authorize money for the military efforts of the Defense and Energy departments for the next fiscal year, which begins Monday.
On missile defense, Mr. Bush had sought $8.3 billion, a $3 billion increase over this year's spending. The Senate agreed Friday to provide the full amount, but would let the president use $1.3 billion to combat terrorism instead. The House ultimately called for authorizing $7.9 billion for that effort.
Separately, the House rejected, 217-199, an amendment by Rep. Loretta Sanchez, California Democrat, to enable military women deployed overseas to have abortions at military hospitals.

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