U.S. EPA Administrator Christie Whitman faced tough questioning from Congress members yesterday as she tried to defend her agency’s decision to cut the number of Superfund toxic waste cleanups in half, from more than 80 per year during the Clinton administration to about 40 under President Bush. Whitman blamed the cuts on lack of funding; House Republicans have blocked reauthorization of an expired tax on polluting companies, and the Bush budget proposal includes no plans for reinstating the tax or otherwise boosting the Superfund coffers. The cuts are part of a series of controversial decisions that have left Whitman and her agency in the environmental doghouse since Bush took office.