Firefighters Seek More Terror Responder Aid

A firefighters union sent a letter to President Bush and congressional leaders yesterday pleading for "necessary funding" for first responders to terrorist attacks "before it is too late." "To that extent and recognizing that the administration and both houses of Congress are governed by one party, we encourage you to act quickly and decisively to ensure that federal resources are properly allocated to buttress homeland security," wrote Harold A. Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Bush blamed Congress for underfunding first responders in spending legislation passed earlier this year. In a strongly worded letter to the president last week, House Appropriations Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) accused the White House of inaccuracies on the matter.

"At this point, we don't care who is to blame for underfunding homeland security money for first responders, and we don't think the American people do either," wrote Schaitberger, whose union was active in Al Gore's presidential campaign. "All we want is to secure the necessary funding before it is too late."

For the Record

* In a controversy that touched White House political adviser Karl Rove, Enron Corp. signed contracts with GOP consultant Ralph Reed worth more than half a million dollars, the Federal Election Commission revealed in dismissing a Judicial Watch complaint against Rove and the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign. Enron paid Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader, about $300,000 before the energy company's collapse. Judicial Watch alleged that Enron's hiring of GOP consultant Reed was a sham designed to disguise an in-kind contribution from Enron to Bush's presidential effort.

* Senate Republicans say they have moved to within a single vote of guaranteeing President Bush one of his top domestic priorities: opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The issue could be decided as early as next week.

* A 23-year CIA member and top aide to Director George J. Tenet will head a new clearinghouse for foreign and domestic terrorism analysis. Tenet named John O. Brennan, who is the CIA's deputy executive director, as director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, the White House said. The center, which President Bush announced in his State of the Union address, is designed to streamline analysis and disseminate intelligence that points to possible terrorist attacks.

* The Republican-controlled Senate rejected a proposal to make contraceptives more widely available through private health insurance and expand government health care for low-income pregnant women. The 49-47 vote fell 11 short of the 60 needed to pass and came during debate on legislation to ban a procedure that critics have dubbed partial-birth abortion. The same roll call also torpedoed a proposal to made emergency contraceptives -- known as the morning-after pill -- available in hospital emergency rooms for women who have been sexually assaulted.

* The Bush administration has imposed sanctions against an Indian company and a Jordanian national for "knowingly and materially" contributing to Iraq's chemical and biological weapons program, the State Department said. The penalties were imposed against Protech Consultants Private Limited of India and Jordanian citizen Mohammed Khatib.

Compiled from reports by staff writer Dana Milbank and the Associated Press