WASHINGTON, DC — April 16, 2002 — With Congress and the nation focused on taxes this month, the Fiscal Responsibility Coalition launched its campaign to ensure that Congress exercises the spending discipline required in the federal budget proposed by President Bush. Today, President Bush briefed the coalition about his budget priorities.

“Our message and President Bush’s message to Congress is simply that spending increases must be limited to homeland security and the war on terrorism,” said Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Tim Hammonds, who attended the briefing. “And the tax cuts are essential to sustain economic growth over the long term.”

“This is not the time,” Hammonds said, “for election-year pork, for costly mandates on business or for regulatory red tape that strangles entrepreneurs and wastes taxpayer money.”

Coalition members have stepped up grassroots pressure on Congress, particularly the Senate, which is considering a budget resolution that threatens the President’s tax cuts, including permanent estate tax repeal. Later this week, the House is scheduled to vote on legislation making permanent the tax cuts, which are due to expire in 2011.

FMI serves on the 10-member Management Committee of the coalition, which represents approximately 150 business organizations across the U.S.

Hammonds emphasized that the coalition will not enter into the detailed deliberations over appropriations bills. “Our eyes will be fixed on the bottom line to make sure that the U.S. economy grows at a faster rate than government spending.”