- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 5, 2002

President Bush has asked Congress to add almost $1 billion in new spending to fund the Transportation Security Administration, fight AIDS, give humanitarian assistance to Palestinians and help Israel fight the war on terrorism.
He sent up the requests, totaling $996 million, late Tuesday as amendments to his spending proposal for the next fiscal year. All 13 appropriations bills for fiscal 2003, which begins Oct. 1, are pending in Congress now.
"These amendments continue my commitment to provide necessary resources to enhance transportation security, to assist Israel and the people of West Bank and Gaza, and to fight the growing pandemic of HIV/AIDS among developing countries," Mr. Bush said in a letter accompanying his request.
Last week the president also sent up a request for additional money to fight wildfires.
Most of the items will look familiar to lawmakers. They were part of an emergency-spending bill Congress passed before lts August recess.
Mr. Bush signed that bill, but later announced his objection to the way part of the money was structured. The bill required him to spend all or none of a pot of $5.1 billion, including the AIDS and Middle East funds, but also including $400 million for election reform and replacing punch-card voting machines, $9.3 million to beef up the Securities and Exchange Commission, $50 million for fighting forest fires and $108.2 million for the Army Corps of Engineers.
"We're not going to spend $4 billion we don't need in order to unlock $1 billion we do," Mr. Bush said in August, calling his action a sort of "pocket veto." "For the good of our economy, for the good of the people who pay taxes, my administration will spend what is truly needed and not a dollar more."
Rep. Michael N. Castle, Delaware Republican and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, yesterday said he hadn't seen the new requests for spending, but said the president was right to separate the "wheat from the chaff" in his pocket veto.
"I think the veto was a fair veto," Mr. Castle said.
But the move still irks some of the lawmakers instrumental to the budget process.
"The administration loudly beats its chest and criticizes Congress for what it calls 'wasteful spending' but then turns right around and quietly requests the very funds that the president claimed were wasteful," said Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Appropriations Committee. "The administration ought to get off its high horse and work in a good-faith effort with Congress to provide sufficient funding for homeland security and for the great backlog of priorities facing this nation."
The House has agreed to a budget calling for $759 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal year 2003, but the Senate hasn't passed a budget. Instead, senators are working under an Appropriations Committee agreement to cap spending at $768 billion.
Mr. Bush has endorsed the House spending limit, though, and has said he will enforce fiscal discipline on Congress.
Still, Democrats said the administration is being hypocritical by telling lawmakers to stick to his budget cap, even as the administration requests nearly $1 billion in new spending without proposing any offsetting cuts.
"In a span of less than 24 hours, President Bush simultaneously instructed Congress to stay within an arbitrary spending limit, yet add huge amounts of spending to his own budget request," said David J. Sirota, a spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.

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