Friday, February 28, 2003

Bush bashes buddies

Why is it those who try to deal with this administration find -- too late -- that the knife in their back has their fingerprints on the handle right beside Bush's?

In his speech to the governors, Bush said he was "disappointed" that Congress did not provide the $3.5 billion he requested a year ago for counterterrorism programs.

A top GOP House official said the Bush administration was intimately involved in negotiating the details of the $397 billion omnibus spending bill the president signed into law earlier this month. White House officials and many budget experts said the measure provides $1.3 billion specifically to local governments to combat terrorism -- considerably less than the $3.5 billion that Bush said he wanted.

"If the president wanted the money, he should have asked for it. He never did," said a senior House GOP leadership aide. "Bush will say what he needs to say, and we understand that."

Democrats took advantage of the dust-up yesterday to slam Republicans for spending too little on homeland defense.

"Incredibly, the president is now blaming others for the budget he himself insisted on," said Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.).

I suppose I feel less sorry for Hill Republicans, though, than I do for all those people who believed that Bush wouldn't "leave their child behind."

The Administration's budget falls $7 billion short of the resources promised in the Act, and it cuts funding for No Child Left Behind initiatives by $90 million. In addition, it funds less than half of the federal commitment to special education, an $11 billion shortfall that affects over 6 million American children with disabilities.

"Our nation's public schools cannot overcome the enormous obstacles they face on the cheap," said (Sen. Jim) Jeffords at a Capitol Hill press conference today.

Jeffords continued, "Mr. President, you can't have it all three ways. You can't pass a program such as No Child Left Behind, creating a huge federal need for funds, while refusing to provide those funds, and refusing to fully fund Special Education as promised, and now slashing federal revenues with massive tax cuts to handcuff federal appropriators. Your approach will only leave every child further behind."

This is just getting sad.


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