Bush to seek $48 billion increase in defense budget

President Bush Wednesday afternoon announced he will ask for a $48 billion increase in defense spending as part of his fiscal 2003 budget request, just hours after a group of House members asked him for at least a $50 billion increase.

Bush called his $48 billion hike "the largest increase in defense spending in the last 20 years, and it includes another pay raise for men and women who wear the uniform."

Bush spoke to a Reserve Officers Association luncheon where he also pledged to spend more on precision weapons, missile defenses, unmanned vehicles and other high-tech weaponry.

Office of Management and Budget Director Daniels estimated the fiscal 2003 Bush defense request would be $369 billion.

"The tools of modern warfare are effective. They are expensive. But in order to win this war against terror, they are essential," Bush said.

His speech came hours after he met with House Armed Services Chairman Bob Stump, R-Ariz., Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young, R-Fla., Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla., and other GOP legislators, who urged him to request at least $50 billion a year more for defense spending. Legislators said that would require an annual military budget of $393 billion before new weapons programs are considered.

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