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WASHINGTON_With the Bush White House adamant about its right to withhold a wide array of information from Congress, tensions are mounting as the two branches dispute their respective prerogatives and responsibilities under the Constitution.
"This White House is concerned about its secrecy, and this Congress wants to know what's going on," said John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
The White House, meanwhile, says Congress is overstepping its constitutional role, even in its bipartisan insistence that Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge testify about his plans.
The Bush administration has said Ridge has privately briefed lawmakers, but his refusal to appear before a congressional committee is customary; the president's immediate staff does not testify before Congress.
"I'm not going to let Congress erode the power of the executive branch," President Bush said recently. "I have a duty to protect the executive branch from legislative encroachment." …