Opponent Relents, Agrees To Fund Flight 93 Tribute

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Under intense pressure from Republican leaders, a key member of the House Appropriations Committee abandoned his two-year effort to block federal funds for a memorial to the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93, agreeing to a $5 million request to purchase land for the monument near Shanksville, Pa.

Rep. Charles H. Taylor (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Interior Department, added the money yesterday to a $25.9 billion spending bill for fiscal 2007, sending it on to the full committee for final approval. The money had been requested by the Bush administration, but Taylor maintained that the planned memorial was overly grandiose and that private fundraising efforts could fall short of their targets, leaving federal taxpayers with too much of the responsibility.

His position grew increasingly untenable when the issue appeared on the front page of The Washington Post last week, the same day a major motion picture about Flight 93's ordeal was premiering in New York. Universal Pictures, which made the film, "United 93," said Wednesday that it would donate $1.15 million -- 10 percent of the movie's opening-weekend gross -- toward the memorial. That brought to about $9 million the private donations raised, nearly a third of the target.

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