The National Advisory Committee for Women, miffed that President Carter would allow only 15 minutes to discuss issues with them, canceled their White House meeting yesterday and criticized the president.
In a letter sent to the White House announcing cancellation of the 1:15 p.m. meeting, the committee said, "the 15 minutes allotted by the White House for the meeting was totally insufficient for a substantive discussion with you on the major concerns of women and the issues affecting them."
A White House spokesman, Sarah Weddington, blamed the situation on "a difficult week for the president's schedule" and promised that something would be set up "at a later time."
The 40-member committee, appointed last year by Carter, has the responsibility of continuing work begun at the National Women's Conference, a government-sponsored convention that drew thousands to Houston a year ago.
The decision to cancel was made by 28 members of the committee at a Tuesday meeting, said committee spokeswoman Ellen Berlow.
The pair heading the committee, former New York representative Bella Abzug and Carmen Delgado Votaw, had requested the session. And both signed the letter canceling it. Votaw is president of the Inter-American Commission of Women and the National Conference of Puerto Rican women.
Their letter expressed a number of concerns, especially with recent White House statements that domestic spending would be cut as part of Carter's efffort to stem inflation and hold next year's budget deficit to $30 billion.
"We are also distressed at your proposal to waste $2 billion on so-called civil defense program and your proposal to increase the military budget by 3 percent when, at the same time, you are proposing to cut back $15 billion in programs for public service jobs, health care, education and other socially necessary programs," the letter said.
The initial White House response to the letter came from Weddington, the president's special assistant for women's affairs.
"The president will be available for a session at a nity to meet you today," she wrote the committee. "As I explained, this was a particulary difficult week for the president's shedule.
"The president will be available for a session at a later time."