Washington Recap: Sept. 4, 2001

President Bush prepares for busy fall

President George W. Bush returned to Washington Aug. 30 from almost a month at his Texas ranch, one of the longest sojourns of a sitting president.

His return comes on the eve of Congress’s arrival and the beginning of what is expected to be an intense exchange over his budget plans.

Entering some of the busiest weeks of his presidency so far, Bush will host a number of foreign dignitaries beginning with Mexican President Vicente Fox this week. Bush and wife, Laura Bush, will host their first state dinner in Fox’s honor.

During his Texas stay, the president cleared brush from his 1,600-acre ranch and prepared for the November visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Washington braces for thousands of protesters

Fearing massive street protests and violence, World Bank and International Monetary Fund organizers cut short their fall meetings in D.C. from a week to two days.

The Metropolitan Police Department estimates close to 100,000 protesters could jam the nation’s capital Sept. 29 and 30.

Police began planning months in advance for the protests that could be similar in scale to Seattle and Genoa, Italy.

A $29 million security budget would bring as many as 3,000 law enforcement officers for the two-day event. City officials are considering cordoning off large sections of the downtown area near the World Bank and erecting a nine-foot high fence.

Lawyers for the protesters filed suit Aug. 20 to stop D.C. police and federal authorities from blocking off the downtown areas. They said the exclusion zones would limit free speech.

Missing intern case baffles police

Rep. Gary Condit’s (D-Calif.) political future was further called into question after an Aug. 23 television interview about missing intern Chandra Levy.

The interview with Connie Chung appeared on ABC’s “PrimeTime Thursday” and was viewed as an attempt by Condit aides to control the damage from nearly five months of bruising questions about the congressman’s credibility.

House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) later called Condit’s demeanor during the interview “disturbing and wrong.”

Condit has faced stinging criticism and calls for his resignation since Levy’s disappearance in downtown Washington more than 100 days ago.

During the ABC interview, Condit refused to admit an affair with the 24-year-old federal intern, despite law enforcement statements that he admitted to a relationship during police interviews this summer.

IRS says tax refunds may be misplaced

The Internal Revenue Service said last week $810 million in income tax payments may have been misplaced because of an error at a Pittsburgh processing center.

After receiving thousands of complaints about checks that have not cleared, the IRS began an investigation and said the missing checks could total 40,000.

Citizens in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island could be affected by the mishap.

The IRS said it would reimburse taxpayers whose banks charged them fees for stopping payment on their checks.

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