- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2002

House appropriators yesterday proposed adding about $2.5 billion to a $27.3 billion emergency spending bill requested by the White House for fiscal 2002 for the war against terrorism and homeland security costs.
A draft of the proposal by House Appropriations Committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young, Florida Republican, totals $29.8 billion.
The bill includes $1 billion to restore the Pell Grant program. Democrats in recent days have tried to exploit an estimated shortfall in the financial-aid program for college students.
The panel will consider the supplemental spending bill tomorrow. Mr. Young called it "a good, clean, responsible bill that will enjoy broad bipartisan support."
The White House has been urging lawmakers to keep the cost of the bill at the administration's request, although unofficial estimates of the committee's proposals in recent weeks had topped $35 billion. Mr. Young said the bill "largely reflects the president's request with some improvements."
"We have added additional funds for defense to pay for costs related to the mobilization of [National] Guard and Reserve forces and to cover operational expenses which include spare parts, training and equipment maintenance," Mr. Young said.
The committee's proposal would add $1.77 billion to the president's request of $14 billion for the Pentagon to conduct the war. Lawmakers would add $790 million for "unfunded personnel costs associated with force mobilization"; $621 million for training, spare parts and equipment maintenance; $100 million for "accelerated destruction of vulnerable U.S. chemical weapons stockpiles"; and $93 million to replace three MH-47 Special Operations helicopters destroyed during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mr. Young's plan would fully fund the administration's request of $5.5 billion for New York, including $2.75 billion in disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $1.8 billion in grants to rebuild mass transportation affected by the terrorist attacks.
Lawmakers are proposing to add $522 million to the administration's request of $5.8 billion for homeland security. Appropriators plan to cut $400 million out of the $4 billion requested for the Transportation Security Administration; Mr. Young said the "agency did not fully or timely justify" its budget request.
Much of the spending on homeland security would go for baggage screening at airports and port security costs.
The appropriators also propose a huge boost in spending for security at U.S. nuclear facilities. The White House requested $26 million but lawmakers want to add $352 million to that proposal, including $128 million for security improvements at Army Corps of Engineers facilities and $88 million for increased security needs at the Energy Department's nuclear weapons facilities.
Other major expenses in the Pentagon's allocation would include $7.2 billion for ongoing military operational costs; $4.3 billion for personnel costs, primarily call-up of Guard and Reserve personnel; and $1.6 billion for intelligence operations.
Congress approved $40 billion in emergency spending shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Trent Duffy, spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget, said slightly more than half of those appropriations have been spent to date.


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