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By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 17, 2002


As spending bills stall, Young seeks White House help

As spending bills stall, Young seeks White House help

Rep. C.W. Bill Young has gone to the Oval Office in his crusade to get this year's appropriations bills passed this year.

Republican congressional leaders have rebuffed Young's request, delaying the controversial bills until the 108th Congress convenes next year. That prompted Young, the Largo Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, on Friday to urge President Bush to ask congressional leaders to pass the bills before Christmas.

The bills are long overdue.

The budget year began Oct. 1, but only two of the 13 spending bills have been signed. The others are stalled because conservative Republicans balked at spending levels that were increased to win votes from moderate Republicans. GOP leaders hope they can resolve the stalemate in January, when they have a larger House majority and control the Senate.

Young has been frustrated by the delay.

"I've been trying to convince the leadership all along that I think it's wiser to do this before the end of the year," Young said. After the new Congress begins "you have a lot of new members who are not familiar with the issues and all the bills would have to be reintroduced."

After the meeting, White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said Bush has not announced whether he'll push for passage this year. "Congress has only passed two of the 13 appropriations bills," she said. "They still need to get it done. The most important thing is to show fiscal restraint while they are funding our priorities."

Congressman cancels over group's stoning views

After learning that the organizer of a religious conference he was scheduled to address this weekend advocates stoning disobedient children, Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Pitts backed out of his scheduled appearance at a meeting of the National Reform Association.

"Congressman Pitts doesn't believe in stoning anybody," spokesman Gabe Neville told the Associated Press last week.

Pitts, the House Republican leadership's liaison to Christian conservatives, canceled his appearance under pressure from watchdog group Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The association is part of the fringe Christian Reconstruction movement, which seeks to impose biblical law in the United States.

The Rev. William Einwechter, a conference organizer, wrote an essay in January 1999 titled "Stoning Disobedient Children." Also scheduled to speak at the Ephrata, Pa., conference Saturday was religious writer Gary DeMar, who advocated in a 1987 book the execution of homosexuals.

Taking a literal view of the Bible, Christian Reconstructionists also have condoned stoning of women who commit adultery and the execution of abortion providers.

In August, Jerry Regier, Florida's new head of the Department of Children and Families, was snared by an apparent past association with the movement. His name appeared on a 1989 essay published by the Coalition on Revival, an arm of the movement. The essay advocated spanking children and keeping women out of the workplace.

Regier denied he had written the paper and disavowed its conclusions.

-- Washington staff writers Bill Adair and Mary Jacoby contributed to this report.

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