Congress Gets Glowing Report on Bush’s Trip
President Bush gave congressional leaders a glowing report today on his European trip, and the White House said Bush does not need specific legislative approval for the $125 million he promised Poland and Hungary.
“The $100 million for Poland and the $25 million for Hungary is in the budget so there are no new requests necessary,” spokesman Marlin Fitzwater told reporters.
Fitzwater said the money is available to the President as part of a foreign assistance bill “so it’s already there.”
Both houses of Congress are considering the Administration’s overall $14.4-billion foreign aid package.
During a stop in Warsaw last week, Bush promised to set up a $100-million fund to encourage private enterprise in Poland and agreed to help reschedule payments on the country’s $39-billion debt.
In Budapest, he said he will earmark $25 million for a separate enterprise fund in Hungary and vowed to grant the Communist country permanent “most favored nation” trade status to help it tap into the lucrative U.S. market.
Bush, who went on to France for an economic summit of the big industrial democracies before ending his 10-day trip with an overnight visit to the Netherlands, appeared relaxed and joked with the lawmakers at the start of today’s meeting.
“I was very delighted to see the President’s enthusiasm as to what’s happening in Eastern Europe and his desire to take whatever initiatives we can to try to work to bring about more of a breakthrough,” Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) told reporters afterward.