Roll Call (2/7, Duran) reports, "Democrats slammed President Bush's $2.23 trillion budget from a fresh angle Thursday, charging that it leaves states in the lurch. '[Bush's budget] fails to fund the president's own education reforms,' Senate Minority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) said. 'It fails to help states struggling with rising Medicaid costs. In addition, it cuts children's health care, aid to local law enforcement, highway funding and environmental protection.'" States "face a collective $68.5 billion budget shortfall in fiscal 2004 -- the worst in 50 years, he said. 'When it comes to the way Congress deals with states' challenges, many Republicans preach the gospel of states' rights, but they practice policies that can be summed up in four words: "Pass on the pain,"' Daschle said." In particular, "Democrats have hammered the administration on its funding levels for education, arguing the president has not requested funding for his own No Child Left Behind Act."
White House Would Get 9.3% Funding Boost Under Bush Plan.
The Washington Post (2/7, A25, Milbank) reports, "While demanding that the federal government restrain its spending to a 4.1 percent increase in 2004, the Bush White House has assigned itself a more lenient standard: It has proposed a 9.3 percent increase in funding for the ongoing operations of the White House. Democrats say the administration is guilty of a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do mentality." The White House "says various hidden security costs account for the increase. ... The only unit scheduled for a cut in funding is the White House Office of Policy Development."
Group To Promote Bush Dividend Tax Cut.
The Frontrunner (2/7) reports that in a news release distributed to political reporters, Tax Relief Coalition (TRC) members, The Business Roundtable (BRT) and Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), announced they "will co-chair the TRC Committee for Dividend Benefits, a new task force being established by the Tax Relief Coalition to emphasize support for the proposal to eliminate the double taxation of dividends which is a key element of President Bush's Jobs and Growth initiative. At its first meeting in Washington today, the group agreed to launch a concerted campaign to promote the positive benefits to the American economy of the President's dividend proposal."