Saturday, September 22, 2001

War bond proposal moves to House-Senate panel

By Derrick DePledge
Enquirer Washington Bureau

        WASHINGTON — For the first time since World War II, Americans soon may be able to purchase war bonds to help strengthen the nation's economy as the government responds to terrorism.

        The Senate agreed to add a war bond amendment to a larger spending bill for treasury and postal operations. The House already approved its version of the treasury-postal bill — without the war bonds — so the two versions will have to be reconciled in a conference committee.

        “War bonds will give voice to countless Americans who are looking for opportunities to make a difference in this time of need,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., main sponsor of the amendment.

        “By investing in a U.S. War Bond, patriotic citizens will have an opportunity to make a direct contribution to the war against terrorism and provide much-needed resources for the effort to rebuild the broken and retaliate against the enemy of international terrorism.”

        The Department of Treasury would have discretion on creating the bonds and setting terms and conditions. A similar war bond bill has been proposed in the House, but Mr. McConnell's version has a good chance of passing because it is part of a spending bill Congress must act on to pay for government operations in the next fiscal year.

        The federal government has issued war bonds to raise money for previous military conflicts, and the most successful campaign was during World War II. More than 85 million Americans purchased about $185 billion worth of bonds.

        “You would have some patriotic investors who would be happy to forgo a market interest rate to help out with the effort,” said Steve Dilbone, senior managing director at Victory Gradison Capital Management in Cincinnati. “I think people would rally around that cause.”


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- War bond proposal moves to House-Senate panel