House Lacks Votes To Override Likely Budget Veto
The House on Thursday voted 274-141 to pass a $606 billion fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (HR 3043) but lacked the votes required to override a likely presidential veto of the legislation, CQ Today reports (Clark, CQ Today, 11/8).
The bill, which includes $150.7 billion in discretionary spending, moves to President Bush for consideration. Bush has threatened to veto the bill because the legislation exceeds his request for discretionary spending by $9.8 billion.
According to >House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.), in the event that Bush vetoes the bill and declines to negotiate, health care and other spending priorities in the legislation favored by Democrats likely do not have "a snowball's chance in Hades" of passage.
The House on Thursday also voted 400-15 to pass a $450 billion FY 2008 Defense appropriations bill (HR 3222) that includes a continuing resolution to fund Cabinet departments and federal agencies at current levels until Dec. 14, CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 11/9). After the House vote, the Senate approved the legislation by voice vote (CQ Today, 11/8). The bill moves to Bush for consideration, and he has said that he would sign the legislation (CongressDaily, 11/9).
FY 2008 began on Oct. 1, and Cabinet departments and federal agencies since that time have operated on a CR scheduled to expire on Nov. 16. According to individuals familiar with the situation, federal agencies have received instructions to plan to operate on CRs through Feb. 15 (California Healthline, 11/7). Democrats likely will seek to combine the other 10 FY 2008 appropriations bills in an omnibus package to avoid "punting the funding measures until next year," The Hill reports.
Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said, "I don't think it is physically possible for us to do the (appropriations) bills individually," adding, "By and large, we're going to face the need for an omnibus at some point" (Raju, The Hill, 11/9).
C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" on Thursday included a discussion with Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) about the FY 2008 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill ("Washington Journal," C-SPAN, 11/9). Video of the segment is available online. The program on Thursday also included a discussion with Tammy Duckworth, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, about the bill, access to VA benefits, mental health care for veterans and other issues ("Washington Journal," C-SPAN, 11/8). Video of the segment is available online.
CNN's "House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta" on Saturday also is scheduled to include a segment on Duckworth and two segments on surgical treatments for wounded soldiers. Additional details about the segments and a broadcast schedule are available on the program's Web site ("House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta," CNN, 11/8). A transcript of the complete program will be available online after the broadcast.