- The Washington Times - Friday, November 9, 2001

The White House yesterday lobbied House appropriators furiously to halt further emergency spending, as New York's politicians readied an $11 billion package to dare President Bush's veto pen.
"We think it's an incredibly important priority," said Rep. James T. Walsh, New York Republican and a member of the House Appropriations Committee. "I'm hopeful the president will understand the needs of New York."
Mr. Bush told lawmakers at the White House this week he would veto any emergency spending above the $40 billion that Congress approved last month to recover from the September 11 terrorist attacks.
But Mr. Walsh and other New York lawmakers of both parties will offer the additional $11 billion package Tuesday when the House Appropriations Committee completes work on the annual defense spending bill.
Two top Democrats on the panel, Reps. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania and David R. Obey of Wisconsin, also are expected to propose tens of billions of dollars more for the Pentagon and homeland security.
Determined to draw the line on terrorism-related spending with this bill, White House officials and House Republican leaders yesterday sought out members of the Appropriations Committee to line up votes against the extra funding. They argued that the $40 billion had not even been spent and that Congress could spend more next year on counterterrorism efforts if necessary.
"They want to hold the troops," said Rep. Ray LaHood, Illinois Republican who was buttonholed three times yesterday alone. "They're not taking anyone for granted. This is a big thing for them taking some responsibility for fiscal sanity."
Mr. Bush pledged upon taking office to hold the increase in federal discretionary spending to 4 percent annually, down from about 8 percent during the final years of the Clinton presidency. The fiscal 2002 budget was on target for Mr. Bush's goal until September 11.
Since then, Congress has approved the $40 billion, to be shared by the Pentagon and New York, and another $15 billion to bail out the airline industry and other expenses. Further, Congress is nearing agreement on an aid package for the insurance industry.
"Since the attacks that launched the war on terrorism, the spending floodgates have opened," said Rep. Christopher Cox, California Republican and chairman of the House Policy Committee.
"Rapid, unsustainable increases in nondefense spending threaten our ability to protect American citizens and respond to future threats."
Mr. Walsh said his $11 billion proposal will include about $2.5 billion to rebuild the Port Authority offices demolished in the World Trade Center collapse, as well as money for the city's subway system, for public utilities, for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and for unemployment compensation for out-of-work New Yorkers.
He said after a conference call yesterday that New York's 12 Republican and 19 Democratic House members had an agreement on the proposal.
Mr. Walsh said he also anticipates support from representatives of states bordering New York, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
"If they fight with us for this, we'll fight for them" on future spending issues, Mr. Walsh said.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Tom Daschle again advocated more spending on homeland security beyond the $40 billion total.
"Let's be on the safe side; let's be sure that we've made the commitments, the kinds of investments necessary," the South Dakota Democrat said.


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