President Bush Threatens To Veto Omnibus Spending Bill
President Bush on Saturday said that he would veto a $522 billion omnibus budget package that includes the fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill (HR 3043) and the 10 other unapproved FY 2008 appropriations bills, the Washington Post reports.
The package divides the $23 billion difference between the amount of domestic spending sought by Democrats and requested by Bush (Kane, Washington Post, 12/9).
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle on Saturday in a statement criticized the package as a "mammoth omnibus spending bill" that is "not fiscally responsible." He added, "If presented a bill like the one described in today's press reports, the president would veto it. If Congress insists on sending the president a budget-busting bill they know he will veto and that will not become law, they should also pass a continuing resolution" (Silva, "The Swamp," Baltimore Sun, 12/8).
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday in a joint statement said, "America expects this president to lead -- that means working in a bipartisan way with Congress to responsibly address our country's priorities rather than issuing veto threats without even knowing what he is threatening to veto."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Friday said that congressional Republicans would agree to support the package, provided that the legislation would provide additional funds for the Iraq war without a required timeline for troop withdrawal (Washington Post, 12/9). The House will vote on the package on Tuesday (Hulse, New York Times, 12/8).
According to the Wall Street Journal, the package is the "Democrats' last, best shot at avoiding a repeat of the budget collapse last year under Republican rule" (Rogers, Wall Street Journal, 12/10).