- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2002

DES MOINES, Iowa President Bush went to the heartland yesterday to repeat the challenge he laid down for Congress to restrain deficit spending and move quickly to aid the war on terrorism.
In his seventh visit to Wisconsin since losing the state by barely 5,000 votes in the 2000 presidential election, Mr. Bush also mapped out his battle cry for the final weeks of the congressional campaign and raised funds for Republican candidates in Milwaukee and in Des Moines, Iowa.
"Excessive spending will serve as a drag on economic growth," he told an estimated 1,800 people at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, one day following his national economic forum in Waco, Texas.
The crowd applauded Mr. Bush's insistence that he would not spend $5 billion in additional spending added by Congress to a $24 billion supplemental appropriation bill passed last month, on the grounds that the extra funds are not related to the war on terror or homeland security.
The administration still has $14 billion remaining from an initial $40 billion congressional appropriation in the wake of the September 11 terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the later $24 billion supplemental bill, there was $9 billion more for homeland security and the $5 billion that Mr. Bush said "I didn't think was an emergency."
"We're spending none of the $5 billion," Mr. Bush repeated yesterday.
In the war against terrorism, Mr. Bush said he wants the Senate and House quickly to resolve their differences over two versions of a bill to provide "a significant increase in defense appropriations."
"They need to get together quickly when they get back in September, and get a defense appropriation bill on my desk first thing," the president said. "Any time we put our military in harm's way, they deserve the best training, the best pay, the best possible equipment. And secondly, I want to send a message to our friends and our enemies."
Mr. Bush also said the Senate needs to act quickly on his request for a new Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security to streamline more than 100 agencies, but he reiterated his threat to veto a bill that restricts his hiring and firing power over the agency.
"The concern is that they will be more interested about their own political turf and jurisdictional turf than they will be in the larger concept of protecting the American people," he said. "But I can assure you that I will insist that the new department be able to put the right person in the right place at the right time to be able to protect the American people, that we will reject any plan which has got a thick book of bureaucratic rules all aimed at protecting special interests."
In Milwaukee yesterday morning and at a luncheon fund-raiser for the election bid of Wisconsin acting Gov. Scott McCallum, the president said the 240 participants in his economic forum at Baylor University were confident in the long-term strength of the American system.
"They were confident that so long as we have the right policies out of Washington, the entrepreneurial spirit would flourish," he said at the luncheon. "The trend is in the right direction, and interest rates are low, inflation is low, productivity is up, consumer spending is strong. I mean, the ingredients for economic vitality are there."
The luncheon raised $600,000 for Mr. McCallum's campaign, White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan told reporters aboard Air Force One. An evening fund-raiser in Des Moines for Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross, who is running against Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack, brought in $1.3 million for the Gross campaign, she said.
Mr. Bush visited the Iowa State Fair midafternoon. Standing in shirtsleeves under the hot midafternoon sun amid tractors and harvesters, Mr. Bush appeared with Republican Rep. Greg Ganske, who is running for the Senate against incumbent Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin.
Mr. Bush told a crowd of several thousand that he was confident in the inherent soundness of America's economy and the goodness of its people's character.
"We've got all kinds of companies run by decent people. And we're not going to let the few ruin the reputations of the many. We're going to hold people to account here in America," he said on the ongoing corporate accounting scandals.
Mr. Bush focused on increasing trade and reducing foreign tariff barriers to American crops, which is important to Iowa as the second-largest state exporter of American farm products.

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