- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2006

Leading House conservatives yesterday urged Republicans to cut spending in order to fulfill President Bush’s request for an additional $92 billion targeted for hurricane relief, Iraq and the ongoing war on terror.

“It’s simply time we restore fiscal discipline to this process and pay for these expenditures by making choices among competing spending priorities,” Republican Reps. Mike Pence of Indiana and Jeb Hensarling of Texas wrote in a letter yesterday to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, California Republican.

The stance by Mr. Pence and Mr. Hensarling, both leaders of the conservative Republican Study Committee, sets the stage for what many expect to be a major showdown this year over government spending under Republican leadership.

Mr. Hensarling already has demanded that Joshua B. Bolten, Mr. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget director, provide all members of Congress with a detailed justifications for why the administration wants $92 billion more.

While they’re at it, Mr. Hensarling said, Mr. Bolten’s office should provide a detailed explanation for the $400 billion in emergency spending that Congress has already handed the administration.

“These unclassified documents are prepared at taxpayer expense and concern the expenditure of taxpayer funds,” he wrote in a letter to Mr. Bolten last week.

“Access to this data should not be limited to select congressional committees and their staff, but available for review by every member of Congress and, ultimately, by every American,” he said.

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