Hill Seeks Money From States

Desperately seeking cash for routine spending bills, House Republican leaders intend to ask the nation's governors to return up to $6 billion in welfare money accumulated by the states in recent years, according to congressional officials.

The officials, who requested anonymity, said the idea was broached most recently by Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) at a leadership meeting. It was approved by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) as part of a months-long struggle by the GOP to win approval of all 13 regular spending measures.

Seeking the return of money would be an irony for a political party whose oft-articulated philosophy is to ship money and power to the states. Some GOP aides acknowledge some Republican governors would have to choose between tax cuts at home and spending needs in Washington.

Under welfare reform legislation enacted in 1996, the nation's governors were guaranteed preset levels of funding for five years. Governors lobbied for the guarantee, saying they were assuming a risk; namely, that the demand for welfare money would outstrip the supply of funds.

But the opposite has happened: Welfare rolls have gone down, and the states flush with money.

Privately, several lawmakers and aides expressed doubt that the governors would voluntarily send money back to Washington.

U.S., Japan Discuss Ballistic Missiles

The United States and Japan are discussing developing technologies that could be used in a ballistic missile defense system, Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said.

"What we are actively discussing with the Japanese government now is the technical support or the development of technologies that would be useful in a ballistic missile defense system," Quigley said at a Pentagon briefing.

The newsletter Defense Week in its July 26 issue said a U.S.-Japan agreement could be announced next month to develop a new ship-launched missile-defense interceptor designed to block missiles as powerful as those recently tested by North Korea.