- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 7, 2001

President Bush told congressional appropriators yesterday he would veto further emergency aid this year, but lawmakers are eyeing as much as $15 billion more for homeland security.
Mr. Bush started the meeting at the White House by vowing to veto any spending that goes "one dime" above the $40 billion that Congress appropriated last month in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
After the top four appropriators of both parties in the House and Senate made their case for more spending, Mr. Bush thanked them and ended the meeting.
"I was flabbergasted and amazed," said Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee. "We expected it was going to be a working meeting instead of a 'my-way-or-the-highway' meeting."
Appropriators from both parties in both houses said they anticipate more spending to fight bioterrorism and for other emergencies before Congress adjourns for the year. House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri had been asking for the meeting for three weeks.
"We've given the president everything he's asked for," said Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee. "On the homeland, I think they should listen to some of us who are listening to our constituents."
"Since the anthrax came about we're getting demands for money every day," Mr. Stevens said. "We're going to explore what might be needed for homeland defense."
House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young, Florida Republican, is advocating at least $2 billion more in homeland-security spending, including $466 million for airport baggage screeners and $291 million for the Customs Service to hire more agents and upgrade technology.
In the Senate, Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, has proposed $20 billion for homeland security. Democratic leaders now plan to include that spending in their economic-stimulus package.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate wanted the White House to pressure appropriators not to go beyond the $40 billion. Negotiators agreed with the administration on Oct. 5 to spend a total of $686 billion in discretionary funds in fiscal 2002; the $40 billion is extra.
"It was just a month ago that the appropriators, and the Democrats, and Republicans, agreed on the spending outline," said Sen. Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican and assistant minority leader. "And yet some people are trying to break that agreement to have additional spending on top of that. I hope that they will keep their word, stay with the agreement that the president and everybody else signed off on in early October."
After meeting with Mr. Bush yesterday, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said: "The president feels that if we need more money later on, that we can do a supplemental or whatever is needed later on. But we need to be able to work through the process and see what our needs are at this time before we appropriate more money."
Mr. Obey said lawmakers told Mr. Bush they envision extra spending for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the public-health network, for protecting national-security agencies and weapons facilities, and to improve the inspection of ships in U.S. ports.
"That $40 billion is already committed," Mr. Obey said. "Twenty billion is to go to New York, and you've got a war to run."
Mr. Stevens said that the scale of the anthrax attack, for example, was not known on Oct. 5 and more spending might be necessary on postal security.
"I've talked to the post office. They need new machines," Mr. Stevens said. "Should they be paid for by ratepayers or should they be paid for by the taxpayers?"
Mr. Stevens said lawmakers are constrained by their previous action to restrict spending of the $40 billion to items directly related to the September 11 attacks.
They are also facing budget deadlines. Lawmakers agreed earlier in the year not to enact "supplemental" spending bills, and the only regular spending bill remaining to be approved by the House is the defense-appropriations measure.


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