PRESIDENT CRITICIZES URBAN-AID BILL AS TOO EXPENSIVE

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President Bush opposes a Senate urban-aid bill as too costly and will urge Congress to pass a scaled-down version quickly to avoid the wrath of angry voters in an election year, officials said Sunday.

Mr. Bush opposes the bill, passed by the Senate last Thursday, because $1.45 billion in aid was added to the measure. But officials refused to say whether he would veto the legislation if it reached his desk.

"The amount is too high, although no one wants to say that publicly," said one administration official in Washington. "We still have a [federal] deficit to worry about."

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But Housing Secretary Jack Kemp has said that Republicans should not favor budgets over people.

He said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press": "I personally don't believe the budget should take precedence over economic growth."

"It would be a terrible situation to have Republicans positioned as worried about the budget over people," he added.

The White House prefers a $822 million urban-aid bill passed earlier by the House over the Senate's more costly version.

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