Republican Congress stands up to Bush on Gun Crime Law !!!


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Waitone
December 2, 2004, 06:45 PM
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/201988_guns02.html

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Key anti-gun program loses funding
No money for federal grants for state and local law enforcement

By ERIC LICHTBLAU
THE NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON -- Congress has eliminated direct financing for a Justice Department program that has been the centerpiece of the Bush administration's efforts to prosecute black-market gun crimes.

The move, which congressional officials attributed to competing budget priorities, cuts federal grants to local and state law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting crimes committed with guns.

It also raises questions about the administration's ability to persuade the Republican-controlled Congress to support its legislative priorities, after Republicans last month blocked an intelligence overhaul backed by the White House. :D

The administration had sought $45 million for local grants under the gun prosecution program, Project Safe Neighborhoods. That would have represented a sharp increase in grants for a program that President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft have hailed as a critical way to crack down on gun trafficking and gun-related crimes.

"If you use a gun illegally, you will do hard time," Bush is quoted as saying on the Web site for the neighborhoods program, www.projectsafeneighborhoods.com.

But in passing a $388 billion spending bill Nov. 20, Congress erased all the direct money sought for the program. A related program to track and intercept illegal purchases of guns by youngsters, for which the administration sought an additional $106 million, also received nothing in the final spending package, although the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which administers it, received an overall increase of $20 million.

"We didn't specifically set aside any money for the program," a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, John Scofield, said. "But we think we've taken care of the need because we provided $900 million over what the administration asked for in other general assistance for states and locals."

Most of those broader programs are not specifically tied to gun enforcement, but instead provide money for a variety of law enforcement problems such as detaining illegal immigrants and gang violence and could be used to supplement gun programs, Scofield said, adding that the reduction in direct financing for the gun program "is the reality of a lean budget."

The immediate effects of the cutback on gun investigations and prosecutions is unclear. Financing for other anti-gun programs related to Safe Neighborhoods remains intact, totaling $200 million, and administration officials said they would try to find money from elsewhere to offset the gap that Congress left.

Indeed, Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, which has been a major backer of the gun program as a way to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, said he believed that financing in the federal pipeline and improved cooperation in place at the local, state and federal levels would allow the initiative to continue uninterrupted "whether or not there's a specific line item."

Gun control advocates and some law enforcement officials said they believed that the cutback sent a troubling message about the federal commitment to fighting gun crime and trafficking.

"The administration has been touting this program as one of their great successes," John Lacey, an official with Americans for Gun Safety, said.

"So the fact that they're letting this program just disappear speaks to the fact that either they are unwilling to combat gun crime or their promises on gun crime have been just empty rhetoric."

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R.H. Lee
December 2, 2004, 06:53 PM
It also raises questions about the administration's ability to persuade the Republican-controlled Congress to support its legislative priorities, after Republicans last month blocked an intelligence overhaul backed by the White House.
Hopefully, they're growing a set. :D :D :D

RealGun
December 2, 2004, 07:26 PM
"the reduction in direct financing for the gun program "is the reality of a lean budget."

Based on one shred of duh! information, the guy built the whole "story" around it.

You made up the title as if Bush was the bad guy. He does not have an adversarial relationship with Republicans in Congress. The actual title of the article does not impugn Bush or mention his name.

Republicans did not block the intelligence reform bill, as if in conflict with Bush...well, not really. The conflict is with the House version. The Senate did the blocking, and the conference committee will not likely resolve differences very soon.

Art Eatman
December 2, 2004, 09:59 PM
Lessee: They cut $45 million from a specific program, but added $900 million above request without "strings" against its use--at least in part--for the gun-crime program.

Duh?

DemUnd "thinking" in this article...

Art

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