Bush wants to limit federal pay raises
Giving civilian federal workers a pay raise of more than 2 percent next year would jeopardize the war on terrorism, President Bush said Wednesday.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Bush reiterated his support for giving the nation's 1.8 million federal workers the 2 percent raise he outlined in his 2004 budget proposal.
But a House appropriations subcommittee has included a 4.1 percent raise in its version of the legislation. Military pay is not affected.
"Such cost increases would threaten our efforts against terrorism or force deep cuts in discretionary spending or federal employment to stay within budget," Bush wrote.
Bush announced he was using his authority to change workers' pay structure in times of "national emergency or serious economic conditions."
A national emergency has existed since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"Full statutory civilian pay increases costing 13 percent of (the) payroll in 2004 would interfere with our nation's ability to pursue the war on terrorism," he said.
AIDS funding cut off for program in Africa, Asia
The State Department has cut off funding for an AIDS program benefiting African and Asian refugees, saying it believes a group taking part in the program supports involuntary abortions and sterilization in China.
State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said Wednesday that funds were offered to six of seven groups that received money from the department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
But the consortium of groups turned down the funding after the department excluded the seventh group, Marie Stopes International.
Marie Stopes International was excluded because of its partnership in China with the United Nations Population Fund, a group the Bush administration said last year had violated a 1985 law against supporting forced abortion or sterilization.
That decision cost the U.N. group $34 million in funding last year, although the State Department did find that the group did not knowingly support abortions and sterilizations by force.