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Bush promises cities more money for homeland defense

President Bush told the nation's mayors on Friday that he would send them more money to protect their cities from potential terrorist attacks.

Speaking here at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Bush reiterated a promise made Thursday to increase next year's budget for domestic defense by 10 percent.

"We will continue to work with you on homeland security," Bush told the heavily Democratic group of about 600 mayors. "My '05 budget has got $30-billion in there for homeland security. That's three times the amount spent prior to Sept. 11."

Bush acknowledged that domestic security money for the cities had often been held up in governor's offices, and vowed to help.

"We'll work with the mayors to make sure it gets unstuck," Bush said. "I understand sometimes it gets stuck not in Washington, it gets stuck at the state level."

Mayors in the crowd said they would adopt a wait-and-see attitude.

"I hope he can pull it off," said John N. Howe, the mayor of Sunnyvale, Calif. "They've given us about 10 percent of the homeland security funds they promised. Where's the other 90 percent? It's just not coming down. It's promises, promises."

When the Homeland Security Department was created in 2002, the Bush administration chose to distribute billions of dollars to try to keep the nation safe through state and county governments, which have in many cases been slow to disburse it to cities.

Court will hurry decision on Bush terrorism appeal

WASHINGTON _ The Supreme Court said Friday it will hurry its consideration of an appeal from the Bush administration in the case of a U.S.-born terrorism suspect held indefinitely and without charges.

The administration had asked the high court to quickly hear the case of Jose Padilla, a former gang member and convert to Islam who was arrested in May 2002 in connection with an alleged plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb."

Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that President Bush does not have the authority to declare Padilla an enemy combatant and hold him in open-ended military custody. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the government 30 days to release Padilla. That order is now on hold to give the Supreme Court time to decide whether it will hear the case.