NATION : Panama-Nicaragua Aid Stalled
House and Senate negotiators failed today to agree on a long-awaited spending bill granting $720 million in emergency aid for Panama and Nicaragua, adding to delays that have prompted anger at the White House.
President Bush requested the foreign aid months ago and he stepped up his campaign for the money this week with a public call for the Congress to delay its planned Memorial Day holiday if the bill is not finished.
Members of a conference working out the differences between the House and Senate supplemental spending bills have agreed on all new spending in the legislation. They were to have completed their agreement today by specifying the defense cuts that will offset the non-mandatory spending in the bill.