WASHINGTON, DC — “The supermarket industry strongly supports President Bush’s decision to deny designation as an emergency $5.1 billion in funding that Congress included in the Fiscal Year 2002 Supplemental Appropriations bill,” said Tim Hammonds, president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), commenting on the White House’s announcement yesterday. “A bill filled with non-emergency expenses will only hinder the nation’s economic recovery, and it sends a negative message to consumers.”

“If we are to restore consumer confidence in our economy, we must provide leadership that shows that Congress and the president are united in reducing spending and funding only those appropriations deemed immediately necessary and essential. Such action will enhance confidence in government budget plans, thereby stimulating business growth and consumer spending.”

President Bush rejected the supplemental appropriations bill, passed by Congress in July, because the spending consisted largely of unrequested funds added by Congress. The president’s action demonstrates his commitment to fiscal discipline and holding the line on spending as Congress prepares for the upcoming debate on the FY 2003 appropriations legislation.

“Fiscal restraint is absolutely essential to maintaining economic recovery,” added Hammonds. “Congress must realize that this is not a time for election year pork and that any additional spending increases must be limited to homeland security and the war on terrorism.”