The Bush administration, which may have been desperatley seeking votes to bolster its budget deal, agreed this week to support re-authorization of the Central Utah Water Project.

In a letter to Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, Reclamation Commissioner Dennis Underwood wrote that the administration "will support" CUP, despite its continuing reluctance because of the estimated $900 million cost and other objections to details in the bill.Both Garn, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, received the letter on the CUP from the Bush administration.

However, backers were still struggling Wednesday to get the CUP to the House floor. It was hung up in the Rules Committee, where Republican members have objected to reclamation reform provisions added by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. Those provisions would limit the amount of reclamation water large farms can receive.

An aide to Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, said the Miller provisions would pick up votes from conservation-minded lawmakers who might otherwise oppose the CUP. However, the Miller provisions are opposed by several members who would probably otherwise support CUP.

According to Owens' spokesman, the bill could go to the House floor for a vote at almost any moment once it clears the Rules Committee.