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House pulls projects off military bill

Published May 20, 2006

WASHINGTON - House conservatives, rejecting protests from fellow Republicans who said they were depriving troops of needed support, stripped $500-million in military construction projects from a veterans spending bill Friday.

Democrats blamed GOP-backed tax cuts and a tight budget passed two days ago for creating a fiscal crisis leading to the cuts, most of which were for facilities at various military bases. The bill provides a 10 percent increase for veterans programs.

The conservatives, led by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, used parliamentary procedures to delete some 20 projects worth $507-million from the $94-billion spending bill for military construction and veterans programs in fiscal 2007, which will begin Oct. 1. The overall bill passed 395-0.

Writers of the legislation, seeking to meet limits outlined in the just-passed budget, had taken the money for the projects from a $50-billion war reserve to fund urgent projects, a move characterized by conservatives and Democrats as a gimmick.

House panel revises Bush's billions in foreign aid

A House appropriations subcommittee Friday approved a foreign aid budget for next year that would reverse the deep cuts President Bush proposed for international family planning programs he himself once described as among the best ways to prevent abortion.

The Republican chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona, and the ranking Democrat, Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York, also agreed to substantially cut Bush's ambitious plans for his new foreign aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corp., which provides large aid packages to poor countries considered to be well governed. The agency would get $2-billion, rather than the $3-billion the president requested.

Also ...

panel investigates links to oil-for-food: The chairman of a Senate investigative panel said Friday it is looking into the actions of former Sen. Robert Torricelli in connection with the United Nations oil-for-food program for Iraq. "We take this very seriously," said Sen. Norm Coleman, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

[Last modified May 20, 2006, 07:35:35]

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