Bush ready to tighten the purse strings

News AASHTO January 27, 2004
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Following angry input from lawmakers and some of their constituents, the White House announced that President Bush's FY 2005 bu

Following angry input from lawmakers and some of their constituents, the White House announced that President Bush's FY 2005 budget will hold all programs other than defense or homeland security to a spending growth level below 1%.


Over the past two years the government has grown by more than 27%–driven in part by discretionary spending. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told the Washington Post that constituents were contacting their members of Congress in recent weeks to question those decisions.


The White House statement came the same day the chief executive of the General Accounting Office–Comptroller General David Walker–told reporters that the federal aid deficit is becoming large enough to prompt immediate steps to rein it in.


Following the White House theme, Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta, in an address before the U.S. Conference of Mayors, stated the Bush Administration's strong opposition to virtually every option being considered as a means to increase revenue for federal highway and transit programs.


According to the Congressional Quarterly MidDay Report, Mineta said the administration's $247 billion proposal is already "the largest investment in highway and transit in the history of this great country."


He added that President Bush has insisted on principles of "no increase in gasoline taxes; no indexing of gasoline taxes; no long-term bonding; and no impact on the deficit in the general fund."


Mineta also voiced opposition to a one- or two-year extension on the grounds it would not provide the ability to plan long-range projects.


Prior to the announcement of the 1% lid, the White House said it would hold discretionary spending to no more than 4%.


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