Bush to Hill: Don't add new funds to continuing resolution

President Bush will resist efforts to add new spending to a continuing resolution, insisting that Congress send him a "clean" bill, a senior White House official said Wednesday.

"In terms of a continuing resolution, there clearly is going to be one, and what the president will insist on in a continuing resolution is that we maintain fiscal discipline," the official said.

Asked if the White House had decided whether it would accept a long-term or short-term CR, he said, "We're thinking about both." Speaking at the White House after a breakfast meeting between Bush and congressional leaders, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., called for a date certain for Congress to recess for the November election in order to focus leaders on the "end game."

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., declined to say how lengthy a CR he would support, saying he did not want to "telegraph prematurely that we can't get our work done." But Daschle late Tuesday indicated he was opposed to a long-term CR.

During the meeting, President Bush, Lott, Daschle, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., focused on Iraq, but also discussed the fiscal 2003 appropriations process, the fiscal 2003 Defense spending bill, terrorism insurance and energy legislation. Meanwhile, OMB Director Mitch Daniels was scheduled to brief reporters on the budget situation Wednesday afternoon.

Sources said House GOP leaders have yet to make any decision about the duration of a CR or spending levels it would contain, although the first CR would likely be no longer than a week or two. The current fiscal year ends Sept. 30. The second CR could be more contentious as it would depend more on how both chambers decide to exit Washington and for how long.

House GOP leaders are continuing to hold out some hope that if there is a lame duck session, it would be an abbreviated one. A source said Wednesday that leaders would potentially come back after the November election, only to pass a long-term CR into next March so that the new Congress could have room to reorganize.

"We're going to keep kicking this can down the road" if we can, said the source. But Daschle said Tuesday he did not favor pushing appropriations bills into next year.