March 1 — On Capitol Hill, Democrats unveil their budget plan, calling for a smaller tax cut than the one proposed by the president and higher spending on education, Medicare and other programs. "Unlike the president's plan, which includes huge tax cuts and little else, our plan cuts taxes and funds our nation's most important priorities," says Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
March 2 — Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says for the second time in five weeks that growing budget surplus projections do leave room for a substantial tax cut, but he also issues a warning. "With today's euphoria surrounding the surpluses," he tells Congress, "we need to resist those policies that could readily resurrect the deficits of the past."
March 3 — In his weekly radio address, the president urges Americans to contact elected officials and express support for the administration's proposal to trim federal income tax rolls by $1.6 trillion over the next decade. "I hope you'll send a message in favor of tax relief to your congressman and your senator," he says. "After all, the surplus is your money."
March 4 — HONORING A REPUBLICAN ICON: President and first lady Laura Bush head to Newport News, Va., to attend the christening ceremony for an aircraft carrier named after former President Ronald Reagan, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. "All of us here wish the ship Ronald Reagan Godspeed," says the commander in chief. "And we wish Ronald Reagan God's blessings."
March 5 — Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a history of heart disease, is hospitalized in Washington and undergoes an "urgent" angioplasty to clear a blocked artery. A student at a high school in Santee, Calif., allegedly kills two and wounds 13 in a shooting rampage. "Our prayers go out to the parents and the teachers and the children whose lives have been completely turned upside down," says Bush.
March 6 — CHENEY HEART ATTACK SCARE: Bush heads to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to talk up his proposal to slash marginal income tax rates across all levels of income. "We're sending a loud and clear message that the entrepreneurial spirit will be reinvigorated as we head into the 21st century," he says. Referring to the economic downturn, the president says, "The great boom is beginning to sputter a little bit."
March 7 — SHORING UP KOREAN TIES: At his first meeting with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung signals he will not immediately continue arms control negotiations with North Korea. "I was forthright in describing … my skepticism about whether or not we can verify an agreement in a country that doesn't enjoy the freedoms that our two countries understand," Bush says in a joint news conference in the Rose Garden.
March 8 — The House votes 230-198 to cut income tax rates across the board — a key component of Bush's overall tax plan. The vote is seen as an important legislative victory for the president, but Democrats — only 10 of whom voted for the bill — complain Republicans ignored their concerns. "It's killed bipartisanship," says House Minority Leader Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo.
March 9 — In South Dakota — Bush's third stop on a four-state swing to promote his tax-cut plan — the president makes a joint appearance at a health care event with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., who vigorously opposes the $1.6 trillion tax relief package. "It doesn't look like [bipartisanship]'s dead to me," Bush remarks. "It looks like it's alive and well here in South Dakota."
March 10 — After a two-day, four-state trip to promote his tax-cut proposal, Bush spends the weekend relaxing at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. "Support for tax relief is building," the president says in his weekly radio address. "I feel the momentum for tax relief everywhere I travel in this country."
March 11 — Senators spar over Bush's tax cut proposal on the Sunday morning talk shows. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., calls the previous week's effort by House Republicans to pass a key element of Bush's plan over strong Democratic opposition "almost an insult — a slap in the face to a real Democratic process." "In the end, the president is going to get his tax cut," says Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas.
March 12 — RETURN TO FLORIDA: Bush returns to Florida for the first time since becoming president, delivering a tax-cut speech in Panama City. "Some of the Democrats here want to keep re-voting the election. But if they would listen to America, they would find that Americans want to move forward," he tells reporters. A bomb dropped by a U.S. Navy jet during a training exercise in Kuwait kills six, including four Americans.
March 13 — The Bush administrations informs Congress it will not require power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, despite the president's promise on the campaign trail to impose new regulations. The president holds a Rose Garden ceremony naming a federal courthouse in Boston after Democratic Rep. Joe Moakley, who is ill with terminal leukemia.
March 14 — Bush heads to the Garden State to pitch his tax cut proposal and his plan to boost government funding for church-run charities. "We ought to welcome faith-based programs into our society and not fear them," Bush says at a church in Plainfield, N.J.
March 15 — The Senate passes White House-backed bankruptcy reform legislation. As the Senate prepares to take up campaign finance reform, Bush sends his own proposal to Capitol Hill. Democratic leaders blast the administration for pessimistic statements about the economy. "We've been talking ourselves into this," says House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo. Now there are real facts out there."
March 16 — Bush meets with Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern at the White House. "The United States stands ready to help," the president says of the ongoing Northern Ireland peace process. "It is in our national interest that there be a lasting peace, a real lasting peace, in Northern Ireland." "It is good to be able to count on true friends," says Ahern.
March 17 — With the House having passed the central element of his $1.6 trillion tax cut, the president urges the Senate to support the plan. "We have been hearing too much troubling economic news," the president says in his weekly radio address. "It is only common sense to give our economy a boost during a slowdown." Bush spends the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat.
March 18 — Senators prepare for two weeks of debate on campaign finance reform. "Every special interest that uses money to gain access and influence in Washington is opposed to this bill," says Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who co-authored legislation to ban so-called soft money. Bush opposes the bill and has called for legislation to limit, but not eliminate, the unregulated contributions to political parties.
March 19 — The Senate begins debate on campaign finance reform legislation co-authored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Bush's main rival for the Republican nomination. Bush meets with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. "The interrelationship between our two economies is important," the president says. "The stronger we are, the more likely it is there will be prosperity in other parts of the world."
March 20 — Bush signs a repeal of workplace safety regulations issued during the Clinton administration, calling them "unduly burdensome and overly broad." Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham declares the nation is facing "a major energy supply crisis." The president has his first meeting with newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the White House.
March 21 — The Bush administration moves to scrap new rules proposed during President Clinton's final days in office that would have sharply limited the amount of arsenic allowed in public drinking water. "It is baffling — just baffling," says Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. "We're going to have to put warning labels on water bottles."
March 22 — A month after FBI Special Agent Robert Hannsen was arrested on charges of spying for Russia and the former Soviet Union, Secretary of State Colin Powell orders 50 Russian diplomats believed to be involved in espionage activities to leave the United States. It is the largest expulsion of diplomats in 15 years. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov calls the move a "political act."
March 23 — In a Cold War-style tit-for-tat, Russia expels 50 U.S. Embassy officials in retaliation for the Bush administration's expulsion of 50 Russian diplomats a day earlier. The president stumps for his tax cut in Maine on a trip aimed at pressuring the state's two Republican senators —Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — to support the $1.6 trillion plan.
March 24 — For the sixth consecutive week, the president uses his radio address to plug his plan to cut taxes by $1.6 trillion over 10 years. Noting that discretionary government spending grew by 8 percent last year, Bush says, "If this spending spree were to continue, we would drain the surplus by funding a permanently larger government. This would be bad for the taxpayer, and bad for the economy."
March 25 — After a week of Senate debate over legislation co-authored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and opposed by Bush to ban soft money, the former rivals for the GOP nomination deny there is "bad blood" between them. "There certainly isn't between me and the president," says McCain. "We're friends, says Bush. "We don't agree 100 percent of the time but we're going to agree a lot of the time."
March 26 — Bush embarks on a two-day, three-state trip to pitch his tax cut. "I believe the economy has slowed down and we better do something about it," the president tells reporters. "I'm confident if we do the right thing, we can have economic growth, the likes of which we had in the past."
March 27 — The president heads to Michigan to talk up his $1.6 trillion tax cut. "I strongly believe that meaningful, real tax relief can ignite another generation of growth," Bush says at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. In the past month, Bush has traveled to more than a dozen different states to promote the plan that was the centerpiece of his presidential campaign.
March 28 — Bush has his first of three meetings with foreign leaders this week, holding informal talks with King Juan Carlos of Spain at the White House.
March 29 — The president meets with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at the White House. "We can disagree and yet still be friends," Bush says, referring to differences between the United States and Germany over global warming, missile defense and other issues. At the news conference, the president also declares for the first time: "We are now in an energy crisis."
March 30 — Bush meets with Brazilian President Fernando Henrique. The meeting is Bush's third with a foreign leader in three days. "The president and I have made a decision that we will work closely to iron out any differences that may exist," Bush says, referring to disagreements over trade tariffs. "We share common values and I believe we are going to work well together," adds Cardoso.
March 31 — In his weekly radio address, Bush says "the education and health and character of American children" are top priorities and argues his budget proposal would dramatically improve education and health services for children. "My budget is active and compassionate," he says.