More Money Sought for AmeriCorps

President Bush asked Congress yesterday to provide an additional $64 million to the AmeriCorps national service program to fill a shortfall that threatens to force the program to cut enrollment.

In a letter to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Bush also asked Congress to give AmeriCorps "flexibility to support more than 50,000 AmeriCorps members" in the current year.

Bush had originally pledged to expand AmeriCorps enrollment to 75,000 this year from 50,000. But the spending legislation approved by Congress last month imposed a cap of 50,000 members, and an accounting requirement by Bush's Office of Management and Budget would have left the program with a $64 million shortfall, possibly cutting enrollment to as few as 26,000.

In addition to the $64 million, Bush asked Congress to give AmeriCorps freedom to transfer funds between its accounts.

Bush said yesterday's request would not increase his budget request for fiscal 2004. But a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee said, "We're not convinced of that."

Man Says CIA Censoring His Book

A case officer fired from the Central Intelligence Agency two years ago sued his former employers in U.S. District Court, charging that the agency was using overly restrictive censorship measures to prevent him from publishing his memoirs.

Jeffrey Sterling, 35, of Herndon, also sued the agency last year over his dismissal, claiming that he was discriminated against because he is black. Sterling was employed by the agency from 1993 to 2001, and had worked on the Iran Task Force.

In the lawsuit, Sterling said the CIA was using the pending discrimination lawsuit as a reason to unfairly deem material in his memoir classified, thus delaying or preventing its publication.

Tom Crispell, a CIA spokesman, said the agency had not seen the suit and could not comment.

For the Record

* President Bush ordered the release of $150 million to a federal home heating aid program to help millions of low-income people pay their heating bills. About $200 million was released in January.

* The newest fundraising postage stamp, aimed at reducing family violence, will sell for 45 cents, the Postal Service said. For each stamp sold, 37 cents will cover postage, and 8 cents will go to the Department of Health and Human Services for programs to reduce family violence.

* Increasing reports of major side effects -- cancer and liver failure -- are spurring the Food and Drug Administration to reassess the safety of rheumatoid arthritis drugs released within the last four years. The drugs under review are Arava, which has been linked to liver failure and damage, and Enbrel, Remicade and Humira, linked to 170 cases of lymphoma since 1998. Manufacturers said patients already are adequately warned about possible side effects, and that there is no proof the drugs are to blame.

-- Compiled from reports by staff writers Dana Milbank and Neely Tucker and the Associated Press