Congress was so busy loading up its "deficit reduction" package with spending increases - for example, the crucial $500,000 grant to create a museum at Lawrence Welk's birthplace - that it overlooked a minor item before it adjourned: continued funding of the savings and loan bail-out.

Congress' refusal to appropriate the necessary money will increase the cost of the bailout by as much as $2 billion, according to one analyst. The Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) needed the additional funds to close 300 insolvent thrifts. Now it will have to wait for Congress to return, while the thrifts sink deeper into their hole.Rep. Henry Gonzalez, chairman of the committee responsible for the appropriation, says it's all the administration's fault, because Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady didn't appear before the committee when Gonzalez wanted him to. So Congress refused to approve the funding. That'll teach him!

Besides, Gonzalez has a solution. If the RTC needs money right away, he says, it can always borrow it. Spoken like a true congressman.