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Senate Confirms Budget Director

Josh Bolten, who served as Bush's deputy chief of staff for policy, will draw up 2005 spending plan.

June 27, 2003|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Josh Bolten as budget director Thursday, an approval that came ahead of the annual spending battle between the White House and Congress.

Bolten was confirmed without debate by the full Senate after the Governmental Affairs Committee approved him on a voice vote earlier in the day. He had drawn bipartisan praise from the panel's members.

Bolten, 48, has been Bush's deputy chief of staff for policy. As director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, he will be an administration point man on spending legislation, oversee the management of the government's huge bureaucracy and be largely responsible for developing the 2005 budget Bush will send to Congress next year.

"Whether it's dealing with deficits, managing federal agencies, working with Congress, or helping the president chart a course for our economy, he's the right man for the job," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), committee chairwoman, said in a written statement.

Lawmakers are beginning to write the 13 annual spending bills for 2004. Those measures were perennial battlegrounds for fights between Congress and Bolten's predecessor, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., who left the job to lay the groundwork for a gubernatorial run in Indiana.

In his appearance before the Senate committee, Bolten defended the administration's policies of cutting taxes and restraining some spending as the best way to rouse the economy and control federal deficits that will surge to a record this year.

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