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Bush Promises to Free Money for States' Security

President Bush, facing angry criticism from states over lack of funding for security, promised on Friday to work with Congress to free up money for police officers and firefighters at the front lines in any terrorist attack. Congressional Democrats and some state governors from both parties have accused Bush of short-changing homeland security. The president, however, blames the Republican-led Congress for not including enough money in a 2003 federal spending bill for first responders. “I signed the appropriations bill to make sure that we can finally begin to distribute funding to the states,” Bush said. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said later the president had had to make “a difficult decision” because the fiscal year was almost half over. Fleischer said he believed most lawmakers would agree the budget process did not allow for “a thoughtful consideration of all of the elements inside a 4,000-page bill” and that it was important to get it right this year. Bush said, “The leaders in the House and Senate are aware of my concerns and they share them.” Full Story

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