- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 9, 2001

From combined dispatches
President Bush yesterday said he is still focused on domestic issues while fighting the war on terror, and urged Congress to pass key legislation on the economy and education.
"As we wage war against terror, Americans made it clear they are also worried about the challenges we are facing here at home," Mr. Bush said of a series of visits and town hall meetings with residents of Florida.
Voters said they were concerned about national security, but also about job losses in the wake of the September 11 attacks, energy reform and improvement of education standards in public schools, Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address.
The president blasted the Democratic-controlled Senate for delays in passing the economic stimulus package already approved by the House, where his Republican Party holds a majority.
"The House acted quickly on my proposals to aid the unemployed and create jobs. The Senate has not," Mr. Bush charged.
In their weekly radio address yesterday, Democrats called on Republicans to enact an economic-stimulus package that puts "public interest ahead of special interests" and promotes "general welfare over corporate welfare."
"Democrats in Congress have put forth a responsible economic recovery plan," said Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who delivered the address.
House and Senate talks on a plan to stimulate the economy were indefinitely postponed Friday with Republicans and Democrats blaming each other for the delay.
Mr. Bush has urged Congress to enact the stimulus plan he says is vital to ensure the economy recovers from the recession made worse by the terrorist attacks before Congress breaks later this month for the Christmas holiday.
Democrats have been pushing to include expanded unemployment benefits and health insurance assistance in the stimulus package, while Republicans want it to include more tax cuts for businesses and individuals.
In a victory statement issued by the White House, the president congratulated the Senate for Friday's late-night passage of this year's $318 billion defense bill and a compromise $20 billion package attached to it for the Pentagon and to bolster security at home.
About 11 hours earlier Friday, Republican senators killed a Democratic-written $35 billion response to the September 11 attacks. Democrats finally settled for a $20 billion alternative, a direct response to Mr. Bush's repeated threats to veto anything exceeding that amount.
Mr. Bush said it "honors the agreement I reached with the Congress and resists unnecessary nondefense spending."
One sponsor of the smaller measure, Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, said it would "at least do something" to enhance national security. In a bid for bipartisan support, Democrats wrote their new plan with the help of Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Yesterday, Mr. Bush also mentioned draft bills on energy and on encouraging citizens to make charitable donations, both of which have stalled in the Senate.

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