Bush Chides Congress on Spending Bills, Reiterates Veto Threat
President Bush on Monday reiterated his threat to veto 10 of the 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2008, which begins on Monday, because of $22 billion in spending included for health care and other domestic programs that exceeds his request of $933 billion, USA Today reports (Leavitt, USA Today, 9/25).
The House has approved all 12 of the appropriations bills, and the Senate has approved four of the bills (Pfeiffer, Washington Times, 9/25).
The appropriations bills that Bush has threatened to veto include the Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. The House version of the legislation includes $151.7 billion in discretionary funds, compared with the $140.9 billion that Bush requested (Wall Street Journal graphic, 9/25). Bush said that Democratic lawmakers have sought to "sneak in all kinds of special projects" in the appropriations bills (Washington Times, 9/25). He said, "If they think that by waiting until just before they leave for the year to send me a bill that is way over budget and thicker than a phone book, if they think that's going to force me to sign it, it's not" (Cohn, CongressDaily, 9/25).
Democrats said that might have support from an adequate number of moderate Republicans to override some the vetoes of appropriations bills. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said, "Whether we're going to have ... a healthier nation, that's what this dispute is about," adding, "We think these are responsible bills" (Washington Times, 9/25).
In other budget news, House and Senate Democrats this week hope to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through Nov. 16 to allow time to resolve differences with Bush on the appropriations bills, CongressDaily reports (CongressDaily, 9/25).
The House and Senate likely will vote on the resolution this week. The resolution likely will include a temporary extension of SCHIP.
Bush has asked Congress to pass a "clean" resolution without additional spending or policy provisions.
House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.) said that the resolution would not include such provisions.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the resolution likely will pass in the Senate (Clarke, CQ Today, 9/24).