Congress Not Likely To Vote on Prescription Drug Reimportation, Other Controversial Issues Before Election
Some Republican legislators might postpone until after the November elections "politically thorny votes" on "delicate" issues, such as legalizing the importation of lower-cost prescription drugs from abroad and a $30.3 billion allotment in the federal budget to finance veterans' health care in 2005, the AP/Boston Globe reports.
Many of the issues are included in appropriations bills that Congress is scheduled to complete by Friday, when the government's new fiscal year begins. As a result, the bills likely will "be lumped together into a giant package exceeding $300 billion," making it possible for legislators to "discard many controversial items," according to the AP/Globe.
According to the AP/Globe, Democratic legislators "were hoping for a pre-election debate on increasing the government's borrowing ceiling so they could use it to highlight the record budget deficits of recent years," but Republican leaders might be able to "avoid difficult pre-election votes or embarrassing fights with the White House" over many of the issues. Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) said, "They don't want to vote on them; they want to duck them."
However, Republicans say they are not trying to "sidestep" issues, "some of which have pitted Republicans against one another or drawn veto threats from President Bush," the AP/Globe reports. Instead, Republicans say that there is not enough time to vote on the legislation before Oct. 8, when Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the presidential and congressional campaigns. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said, "You're creating a story that ain't there" (Fram, AP/Boston Globe, 9/30).