Wednesday, March 08, 2006
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer -- Wednesday, 11:55 AM ET
WASHINGTON - stands by his support of a Dubai-owned company's entry into U.S port operations, the White House said Wednesday as House Republicans ignored a veto threat and moved to stop the plan. "The president's position is unchanged," said Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary.
House Armed Services chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter, right, R-Calif., holds a press conference on a bill he is submitting in reaction to the Dubai ports deal on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, March 7, 2006. The bill, called the National Defense Critical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2006, would allow only American companies to run U.S. ports and would block the Dubai Ports World's deal to take over operations at U.S. ports. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
"We're continuing to work closely with Congress. We recognize that some members have concerns. The lines of communication are open," McClellan told reporters on Air Force One while traveling with the president to New Orleans. "There are a lot of conversations going on between the company and Congress and the administration."
Back in Washington, House Republicans prepared legislation that would block DP World from taking over significant management of terminals at six U.S. ports. Senate GOP leaders signaled that they may be open to the effort as well.
While many senators oppose the DP World takeover, even the staunchest critics have said Congress should wait to vote on legislation until after the administration completes its 45-day investigation into potential security risks.
Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and several Republican committee chairmen met Wednesday with Treasury Secretary , whose department oversees the multi-agency committee that approved the DP World takeover.
A Frist aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting was private, said the majority leader emphasized that "the president's position will be overrun by Congress" if the administration fails to aggressively and clearly communicate with lawmakers during that period.Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
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