A House vote was expected by  March 23 on a $124-billion spending bill that focuses mostly on funds for the Iraq war but also has large sums for construction. But President Bush said on March 19 that he wants Congress to approve “a clean bill that does not use funding for our troops as leverage to get special interest spending for [legislators’] districts.”

Besides $99.5 billion for war-related Defense Dept. spending, the bill has $1.8 billion for military construction and $3.1 billion for the base closure program. The measure bars using funds to close the Army’s Walter Reed hospital.

The bill also includes $1.3 billion for continued Corps of Engineers work on levees and other flood protection around New Orleans and $283 million for Veterans Affairs Dept. construction.