Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp, who has emerged as the Bush administration's chief proponent of increased aid to inner cities, has rejected a proposal discussed publicly last week by Vice President Quayle that Los Angeles sell its international airport to raise money for neighborhoods ravaged by rioting.

"I personally wouldn't say to {Los Angeles Mayor} Tom Bradley that he ought to sell the airport in Los Angeles as the only way of funding aid to Los Angeles," Kemp said yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press." Instead, Kemp urged that Congress approve proposals in the Bush administration's budget "that Jack Kemp and Dan Quayle have been talking about now for three years."

Quayle reportedly raised the idea with Bradley during a meeting last week, but then later explained to reporters: "I told the mayor that it is your decision. . . . I have never recommended that LAX {the airport} be privatized," according to the Los Angeles Times. Selling the airport has been under consideration by the Los Angeles City Council for a year.

Kemp sidestepped direct questions about whether he supports a $1.94 billion emergency urban assistance package that the Senate adopted last week. The measure would increase the budget deficit by approximately $2 billion. "We need an emergency aid package" he said. "If you're asking me would I sign it, I'm not the president. I don't know whether it is within his parameters for signing or not. I'll leave that up to {Office of Management and Budget Director} Dick Darman and {Senate Minority Leader} Bob Dole."

The Senate's plan is four times larger than the Bush administration's proposal, which called for $494.7 million in emergency assistance to victims of the Los Angeles riots and the Chicago flood. The Senate version adds money for summer youth programs to be distributed to the 75 largest cities and to governors.

In Kennebunkport, Maine, where President Bush was spending the holiday weekend, White House spokeswoman Judy Smith said the administration strongly prefers the House version, which would provide $822 million in loans and grants for small businesses and disaster relief for cities, Reuter reported.

"I personally don't believe the budget should take precedence over economic growth," Kemp said on the television program. "To me, getting growth and jobs and opportunity back into the inner cities of America should take precedence over any budget, narrowly defined."

Kemp suggested there are political risks either way. "It would be a terrible situation to have Republicans positioned as worried about the budget over people," Kemp said. "And it would be equally bad if we end up having the Democratic Party and liberal members of the party only worried about . . . throwing money at the problem."