Appropriately, national defense and homeland security are highest priorities in President\’s $2.1 trillion budget.

WASHINGTON – President Bush today proposed his Fiscal Year 2003 budget. The budget puts high priority on winning America\’s war against terrorism and insuring homeland security, while cutting waste throughout government.

The budget calls for an 8.5% increase in spending on defense and homeland security, and a 2% increase on discretionary spending unrelated to these goals. The 2% increase marks the smallest growth for most federal programs in years, demonstrating the President\’s promise to reign in spending and keep America moving forward economically.

Taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform in Washington, called the budget "proof that the President means what he says when he talks about restoring fiscal discipline to the federal government."

"President Bush\’s budget places his two highest priorities on national defense and homeland security – which by nature should always be the highest priorities of the federal government," said Norquist. "Between the recession, which greatly diminished federal revenues, and the Clinton Administration, which gutted the Pentagon while bloating other federal programs, the federal budget will be temporarily out of balance. But to see a President so devoted to fiscal discipline in the discretionary budget is a true breath of fresh air."

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which authored the budget blueprint, identified program overlap as a major source of waste in federal spending, with some 19 agencies working on each of the federal government\’s 478 lines of business. The President\’s budget seeks to prevent such waste by by linking funding to performance. The OMB will have scorecards for every federal agency and rate each agency\’s performance accordingly. Those agencies that do not meet their stated objectives will be recommended for either reduction in funding, or complete disbanding.

"Homeland security and a strong economy should be the two highest priorities of the federal government," continued Norquist. "President Bush, by pushing for a stronger national defense and tax cuts to spur economic growth, has America\’s priorities in good care."