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Bush Summons Lawmakers to White House

Bush Summons Lawmakers to White House

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush summoned congressional leaders to the White House on Friday for an Oval Office briefing on the war in Iraq and a push to keep his top domestic priority -- tax cuts -- moving forward.

Before the meeting, Bush was informed that a U.S. Marine had been killed in Iraq, the first reported American combat death of the war to disarm Saddam Hussein.

A senior administration official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the president expressed regret for the death and called it a reminder to Americans that war comes with great sacrifice.

Bush began his work day at the Oval Office, arriving as usual at 7 a.m. EST. He talked by telephone with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and met with chief of staff Andrew Card.

He intended to discuss the war with legislative leaders but at least one domestic issue was on the agenda. Bush wanted to talk about the federal budget one day after the House passed a $2.2 trillion measure that endorses his plan to cut taxes by $726 billion over the coming decade.

Bush hoped for another victory Friday in the Republican-led Senate, where Democrats and moderate GOP lawmakers were trying to cut the package in half. Democrats say the tax-cut plan is too expensive in a time of war and spiraling deficits.

Bush planned to spend the first weekend of the war at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the mountains of Maryland, the official said.

The president will be in contact with foreign policy advisers, some of whom plan to make the trip with him. The Marine-run facility is equipped with advanced communications allowing Bush to keep tabs on the war.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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