On my third attempt in less than a week to get White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to reveal some specifics on what spending the President intends to cut to pay for Katrina and Rita relief, the Administration’s top spokesman is still not sharing any details.
Referring to earlier responses from McClellan to "read our budget," I pointed out that the budget submitted by the Administration for Fiscal Year ’06 actually includes a deficit. "In the short term, it does because of Katrina," McClellan replied, not mentioning that the budget was submitted before Katrina. "The budget is a good starting point." He went on to point out that the Appropriations process has started in the House and the Administration was working with Members of Congress to reduce "both mandatory and discretionary spending." In McClellan’s words, the Administration is working "to cut discretionary, non-security spending, but it’s also important to look at mandatory spending." As he did in two previous morning briefings with reporters since Friday, McClellan did not say where either discretionary or mandatory spending would be cut or reformed.
Following the briefing, reporters went out to the Rose Garden, where the President delivered his response to the killing of a top terrorist in Iraq and restated his views that the democratization process in Iraq would succeed. He took no questions from reporters and ignored a shouted query from NBC’s David Gregory as to what he thought about former FEMA head Michael Brown’s congressional testimony the previous day.