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Washington in brief

House passes $31-billion in foreign aid

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 17, 2003

WASHINGTON - The House on Wednesday approved a $31-billion State Department bill that seeks to promote better communication with Muslim countries, outlines a plan to double Peace Corps volunteers and reaffirms the president's authority to deny funds for a U.N. family planning agency.

The legislation, passed 382-42, authorizes State Department and foreign aid programs for two years.

Debate on the Senate bill, which provides $27-billion in one year for State Department and related programs, has stalled.

Bolten defends deficit

WASHINGTON - In his first congressional testimony since he became President Bush's budget director last month, Joshua B. Bolten said Wednesday that the $455-billion budget deficit he projected on Tuesday was completely manageable and that Bush's tax cuts were not the problem but "part of the solution."

"The key to improving the budget outlook is healthy and sustained recovery with strong job creation," he told the House Budget Committee. "Had Congress not enacted the president's three tax relief packages," Bolten added, "the economy would be substantially weaker than it is, and there would have been substantially greater job losses."

When Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Mass., asked whether Bolten was saying that the tax cuts "will pay for themselves," the budget director said he was not.

"I think the art and science of economics has not yet advanced to the stage where we can really properly capture all the positive effects the tax cuts do have on the economy," Bolten said.

'Brothers' seek medal

WASHINGTON - The real-life Band of Brothers is taking up one last battle - this time to seek the Medal of Honor for their company commander.

The World War II veterans, whose journey from Normandy's beaches on D-Day to capture Hitler's Eagle's Nest in Germany was turned into an HBO miniseries, will meet today with acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee to ask that the nation's highest military honor be awarded to Richard Winters, 85, of Hershey, Pa.

Winters declined to talk about his comrades' drive, except to say that he "had nothing to do with it."

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