Bush urges action on spending bills
President tells Congress to use fiscal 'discipline'
DAVENPORT, Iowa (CNN) -- President Bush called on Congress to tighten spending and "exercise fiscal responsibility" Monday, singling out the Democratic-controlled Senate for criticism because it has not passed a federal budget.
"It's of concern because if you have no budget, it means there's no discipline," Bush told workers at the Sears Manufacturing Co. during a campaign swing through Iowa. "And if there's no discipline, it's likely that the Senate will overspend. And when they overspend, they not only overspend for this year, this coming year, they'll overspend for every year afterwards, too."
The budget serves as a blueprint, guiding decisions on the individual appropriations, or spending, bills. Congress has not completed work on any of the 13 annual spending bills that finance federal agencies for the 2003 budget year, which starts in three weeks. Among the appropriations bills still pending in Congress is next year's defense bill. Bush called on lawmakers to finish the bill and get it to his desk.
"If the number one priority is to defend the American people, the best thing they need to do is pass the defense bill so we can get after defending the American people next year," he said.
He also urged action on his proposed Department of Homeland Security. The bill creating the department passed the House, but is awaiting action in the Senate.
Bush called the measure the best way to secure our borders and protect the American people. He said the House has passed a good bill, and he cautioned that the Senate "better not pass a bad bill, otherwise I will veto it."
Turning to Iraq, Bush said Saddam Hussein is still a threat to America and the rest of the world.
"This is a man who poisoned his own people, poisoned his neighbors; he's invaded two countries," Bush said.
Bush was in Iowa to raise funds for Rep. Jim Nussle, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
He said the United States has shown great strength following the terrorist attacks and echoed his common theme that in the face of uncertainty, Americans should "love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself." But he said the United States still faces a threat from an enemy that is different from any we have faced in the past.
"These are the kind that hide in caves and then send somebody to their suicidal death. These are the kind that hijack a great religion; a religion, by the way, which preaches love and compassion and tolerance," said Bush. "They hijack it and then murder in the name of that religion. These are the kind that have hate in their heart."
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