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Hutchison wants $100 mil for border drug war

WASHINGTON -- Embracing an initiative pushed by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a Senate committee agreed Thursday to include $100 million in a federal spending package to help border-area law enforcement agencies combat drug trafficking and violence tied to powerful criminal gangs in Mexico.

The aid, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, would be used in border-area counties and high-intensity drug trafficking areas.

The package includes $10 million to fund Project Gunrunner, a Justice Department program designed to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico for use by drug cartels.

At least 90 percent of weapons seized in Mexico are from the United States, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

President Bush is asking Congress to approve $560 million to help Mexico fight the drug cartels, but Hutchison has said she does not support the initiative without an increase in aid for U.S. law enforcement.