Federal Budget Without Spending Reductions Could Face Veto
President Bush on Friday said he would veto the fiscal year 2007 budget resolution unless Congress includes spending reductions that he has requested to reduce the federal deficit by half by FY 2009, the Washington Times reports (Curl, Washington Times, 4/8).
The House on Thursday adjourned for a two-week recess without a vote on the budget resolution amid disagreement among Republican appropriators, conservatives and moderates. The House budget resolution includes $6.8 billion in spending reductions for entitlement programs but excludes reductions for Medicare and Medicaid.
In addition, the House budget resolution includes an $873 billion cap on discretionary spending requested by President Bush. Under the discretionary spending cap, spending for health and other nonsecurity programs would remain at about FY 2006 levels (California Healthline, 4/7).
House Republican moderates, such as Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.), have sought to add about $7 billion to the discretionary spending cap for health, education and other domestic programs, and conservatives have "balked, demanding tight spending caps and pushing budget reforms that would further control domestic spending," the Times reports (Washington Times, 4/8).
The Senate budget resolution, which passed last month, would add more than $16 billion to the discretionary spending cap (American Health Line, 3/29).
Bush said, "If necessary, I will enforce spending restraint through the exercise of the veto" (Washington Times, 4/8).
House Republican leaders on Friday "vowed to try to resurrect" negotiations on the budget resolution after the spring recess, CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 4/7).
House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said, "I do think we have a real opportunity to get back and get this budget done," although certain "process-oriented issues," such as provisions on emergency spending and earmarks, remain.
Under the emergency spending provision, which was part of a package of budgetary enforcement measures negotiated last week between House Republican leaders and conservatives, oversight of appropriations for nonmilitary emergency spending that exceeds $4.3 billion would shift from House Appropriations Committee to the House Budget Committee. In response, House Appropriations Committee Chair Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), who opposes the emergency spending provision, asked all 36 members of the committee to oppose the budget resolution.
According to CQ Today, "Blunt's remarks appeared to signal that GOP leaders might try to break off the emergency spending provision" (Ferrechio, CQ Today, 4/7).