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Excerpts from the Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, October 9, 2003 (Full Transcript)QUESTION: On a different subject, on AmeriCorps -- you're probably aware there is a hearing going on, on Capitol Hill, a hundred hours straight of testimony by supporters of AmeriCorps. Their point is that they're underfunded, they say the programs have been cut. They say they need an infusion of emergency funding -- $100 million. What is the President's position on that $100 million request?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President remains very committed to AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps provides vital help to people across America, and the President is continuing to work closely with Congress and his fiscal year '04 budget calls for expanding Medicare -- expanding AmeriCorps significantly, and that's what we are continuing to do. We're now almost in the fiscal year '04 year, so we'll continue to work closely with Congress. It's a high priority for the President, and that's what we will continue to do.
QUESTION: But they argue that they need this money for the '03 fiscal year. Before you get to FY '04, they really need this $100 million because programs are being shut down.
MR. McCLELLAN: We are continuing to work. We took some steps to improve the accounting procedures within AmeriCorps so that we could address some of those issues that involved the past. Now we continue to work with Congress to build upon that and expand AmeriCorps. The President is very committed to expanding AmeriCorps and expanding the number of members within AmeriCorps, because of the vital role they play in helping people all across the country.
QUESTION: Just to be clear, he'd rather wait for the '04 budget to deal with some of --
MR. McCLELLAN: We continue working closely with Congress and move forward on the President's -- on the President's request to expand AmeriCorps.