Bush Signs Bill

On Foster Care

President Bush signed legislation to allow for-profit therapeutic foster care agencies to receive federal assistance.

The bill, which passed the House 408 to 1 on Nov. 9, ends a restriction where only nonprofit groups can get federal money to help recruit and train families that accept children with special medical, psychological, emotional or social needs.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), sponsor of the legislation in the House, said that in his state, five of the 15 agencies that provide therapeutic foster care services operate under a for-profit model.

In many states these agencies contract with the state government to place and support children in homes, with nonprofit groups receiving funds from Medicaid and Department of Health and Human Services programs.

Everglades Project

To Get $60 Million

A long-delayed project to restore natural water flows in a section of the lower Everglades will get a $60 million jump-start under a spending bill signed into law by President Bush.

The project, first proposed in 1989 and delayed by lawsuits and bureaucratic battles, will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finish buyouts of flood-prone land in western Miami-Dade County and build a levee to protect remaining homes.

For the Record

* Under U.S. pressure, the leaders of Bosnia's three ethnic groups agreed to reforms in the state's leadership structure by next March that U.S. officials said was a commitment to a single presidency. The move, announced in a joint statement after talks, would greatly improve the Balkan state's chances of joining NATO and the European Union.

* The Commerce Department said it will comply with a NAFTA panel's order to cut U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber. U.S. officials said they disagree with the rationale behind the ruling, but respect its authority. The decision means the United States will reduce the punitive duties, which average about 16 percent, to less than 1 percent. Separate antidumping tariffs averaging about 4 percent will not be affected.

* Four governors will travel to the Middle East over the Thanksgiving holiday to visit with troops and meet with senior military and political leaders, Pentagon and State Department officials said. The four governors -- Democrat Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan, Republican Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Republican Sonny Perdue of Georgia and Democrat Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas -- were meeting yesterday with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

-- From News Services