Bush seeks more for war, homeland

President Bush asked Congress today for more money to fight the war in Iraq and protect Americans at home.

Bush's request for a supplemental 2003 budget includes $74.7 billion over the next six months for the war. He also requested $3.5 billion for homeland security, which includes $2 billion for state and local terrorism preparedness.

The request is likely to meet resistance on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are already dealing with a budget deficit currently forecast at $316 billion. Nevertheless, many lawmakers have criticized the Bush administration for failing to provide enough money for state and local governments to deal with homeland security.

The request includes:

* $1.5 million for grants to state and local preparedness activities for equipment, training and planning. States must allocate 80 percent of these funds to local governments.

* $450 million for grants to states to enhance security at critical infrastructure facilities as part of Operation Liberty Shield.

* $50 million for protection and preparedness of major metropolitan areas.

The budget includes $1.5 billion to support additional screening at border crossings, increased inspections of high-risk goods and cargo at ports of entry, and more security between points of entry on the borders.

A senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the budget request, said the homeland security money would be "divided roughly evenly between funding of federal protection, additional federal protection, increased Coast Guard operations [and] federal facility protection."

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