House cuts irk administration

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H.R. 2799

The Bush administration this week said it was disappointed that the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut funding for proposed e-government programs in the Commerce Department.

In a statement July 22, the Office of Management and Budget criticized changes the committee made to the White House's 2004 funding proposal for the departments of Commerce, Justice, State and related agencies.

The committee cut more than $4 million that Commerce officials hoped to use for e-government initiatives, information security and protection of important facilities. Administration officials also said it was disappointed that the committee provided no funding for e-government at the Patent and Trademark Office and did not approve a request to raise patent fees to pay for those efforts.

The officials also criticized committee members' decision to turn down a plan to reduce Justice's budget lines. For example, the administration wants to refashion the FBI's budget into four major areas, down from the 10 programs it currently uses for classifying spending. Officials say this makes it easier for sections within Justice to share projects, such as information technology programs, and link the performance of programs in those four functions to future funding decisions.

The Senate has not yet started work on this appropriations bill.

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