- The Washington Times - Friday, December 21, 2001

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Congress overwhelmingly approved a compromise $20 billion anti-terrorism package yesterday as weeks of battling between President Bush and lawmakers over the government's fiscal response to terrorism drew to a close.
The House voted 408-6 to approve the package and the $318 billion defense bill to which it was attached. The Senate followed, passing it 94-2. The anti-terror money is for the Pentagon, domestic security, New York and other areas staggered by the September 11 attacks.
With lawmakers exhausted from a near all-night session debating economic-stimulus legislation, House debate on the anti-terrorism measure was brief. The Senate also limited its time on the measure as senators prepared to rush to airports to begin a monthlong recess.
But underlining the oft-bitter partisan battling over the package, Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, praised the compromise as one in which "rationality prevailed over stubbornness." That seemed to be a reference to the Bush administration's insistence on limiting the measure's price tag.
The Senate, by 90-7, gave final approval to a $123 billion measure financing education, health and labor programs, and neared completion of a $15.4 billion foreign-aid bill. The House approved the education measure Wednesday by 393-30 and signed off on the foreign-aid bill by 357-66.
The three bills were the last of the 13 annual spending plans for fiscal year 2002, which began Oct. 1. After finishing them and other lingering measures, Congress was expected to leave the capital for the year to end an unusually lengthy session prolonged by the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
The defense bill, along with military funds in other legislation, would bring Pentagon spending to $345 billion this year, a 15 percent increase over 2001.
Besides leasing 100 Boeing 767s for conversion to Air Force refueling tankers, the Defense Department could lease four smaller 737s, to be available to administration officials and lawmakers. Congressional aides said the 737s were sought by Vice President Richard B. Cheney and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican.
The bill has a 5 percent pay raise for military personnel and $7.8 billion for missile defense, $500 million below Mr. Bush's request.
The anti-terrorism package provides $3.5 billion for the Pentagon, less than half what Mr. Bush wanted. It also has $8.3 billion for preventing bioterrorism attacks, aviation security and other domestic defense programs, plus $8.2 billion for New York and other areas directly affected by the attacks both exceeding what Mr. Bush sought.
The education, labor and health bill provides $11 billion more than last year's and exceeds Mr. Bush's request by $7 billion.
The bill would provide $48.9 billion for schools, 16 percent more than last year and 10 percent over Mr. Bush's initial request. It closely followed the legislation revamping federal education programs that Congress sent Mr. Bush this week.
Substantial increases are included for research by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for programs to retrain some jobless workers and for Pell grants for low-income college students.
The foreign-aid bill is $400 million higher than last year and $200 million more than Mr. Bush requested.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide