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Senate Passes Spending Bill for Counter-Terrorism - 2002-06-07

The U.S. Senate has passed a $31 billion emergency spending bill to pay for counter-terrorism programs for the rest of this year.

The bill includes $14 billion for military programs, more than eight billion dollars for homeland defense, and $5.5 billion dollars to help New York recover from the September 11 attacks.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, said "we ought to be doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of the American people, to protect their lives and their property." he said.

But, with elections ahead this November, some lawmakers added funding to the bill for popular programs, a move that angers Republican Senate leader Trent Lott. "Clearly, the bill has gotten out of control," he said. "This is nothing new," he said. "Every Congress does it. Every President makes the mistake of asking for supplemental appropriations and every Congress sees this as a vehicle that we can enjoy a ride on. We have all participated, and I am not proud of that."

The White House, which wants to curb government spending, has threatened to veto the measure unless the funding for what it deems 'low-priority programs' is dropped.

The House passed a similar measure last month. A joint House-Senate conference committee will work out differences in the two versions before sending a final bill to President Bush. The administration had sought some $27 billion in emergency funds.

Both the House and Senate versions include a provision that bars U.S. cooperation with the International Criminal Court. Opponents say the new international war crimes tribunal court could be used by critics of the United States against U.S. service members participating in military operations overseas.