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Bush rejects $5.1 billion in spending

From Suzanne Malveaux
CNN Washington

WACO, Texas (CNN) -- President Bush announced Tuesday he will reject a $5.1 billion spending plan, already approved by Congress, saying lawmakers need to curb their fiscal appetite.

"And if Congress won't show spending restraint, I intend to enforce spending restraint," Bush declared.

The funds are part of a supplemental spending package for homeland security and defense that the president signed August 2.

The way the legislation is written, the president can decide whether to designate as emergency funding $5.1 billion of the $28.9 billion allocated.

He has decided not to make the designation.

"A lot of that money has nothing to do with national emergency," he said, highlighting money slated for a new facility "storing the government's collection of bugs and worms."

Bush said he supports spending about $1 billion on programs including AIDS prevention and aid to the Middle East, but he said the money would be secured through amendments to the 2003 budget process.

"My administration will spend what is truly needed and not a dollar more," Bush vowed.

Administration officials say Bush will reject the spending for three reasons: There is money available, the fiscal year is almost over, and the government is dealing with a projected deficit of $165 billion.

In a report, the Office of Management and Budget says Congress appropriated $40 billion to the Emergency Response Fund to finance the government's response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

But as of June 30, only $25.8 billion or 66 percent of the total has been used. OMB says $14 billion of the Emergency Response Fund has not yet been assigned.

So with only three months remaining in the fiscal year, the administration argues Congress doesn't need the $5.1 billion to supplement homeland security and defense spending because there's already $14 billion available.




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