Bush vetoes health ed bill

President Bush, escalating his budget battle with Congress, on Tuesday vetoed a spending measure for health and education programs prized by congressional Democrats.

He also signed a big increase in the Pentagon’s non-war budget although the White House complained it contained “some unnecessary spending.”

The president’s action was announced on Air Force One as Bush flew to New Albany, Ind., on the Ohio River across from Louisville, Ky., for a speech criticizing the Democratic-led Congress on its budget priorities.

The White House said the $606 billion education and health was loaded with 2,000 earmarks — lawmaker-sponsored projects that critics call pork-barrel spending — which Bush wants stripped from the bill.

“Some of its wasteful projects include a prison museum, a sailing school taught aboard a catamaran and a Portugese-as-a-second-language program,” the president said. “Congress owes the taxpayers much better than this effort.”

It was sixth bill vetoed by Bush. Congress has overridden his veto only once, on a politically popular water projects measure.

Bush hammered Democrats for what he called a tax-and-spend philosophy:

“The Congress now sitting in Washington holds this philosophy,” Bush told an audience of business and community leaders. “The majority was elected on a pledge of fiscal responsibility, but so far it’s acting like a teenager with a new credit card.

“This year alone, the leadership in Congress has proposed to spend $22 billion more than my budget provides,” the president said. “Now, some of them claim that’s not really much of a difference. The scary part is, they seem to mean it.”

More than any other spending bill, the education and health measure defines the differences between Bush and majority Democrats. The House fell three votes short of winning a veto-proof margin as it sent the measure to Bush.

Rep. David Obey, the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, pounced immediately on Bush’s veto.

“This is a bipartisan bill supported by over 50 Republicans,” Obey said. “There has been virtually no criticism of its contents. It is clear the only reason the president vetoed this bill is pure politics.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Bush “again vetoed a bipartisan and fiscally responsible bill that addresses the priorities of the American people: education for our children, assistance in paying skyrocketing energy costs, veterans’ health care, and other urgent health research on cancer and other serious medical problems. At the same time, President Bush and his congressional allies demand hundreds of billions of dollars for the war in Iraq — none of it paid for.”

Since winning re-election, Bush has sought to cut the labor, health and education measure below the prior year level. But lawmakers have rejected the cuts. The budget that Bush presented in February sought almost $4 billion in cuts to this year’s bill.

Democrats responded by adding $10 billion to Bush’s request for the 2008 bill. Democrats say spending increases for domestic programs are small compared with Bush’s pending war request totaling almost $200 billion.

The measure provides:

_a 20 percent increase over Bush’s request for job training programs.

_$1.4 billion more than Bush’s request for health research at the National Institutes of Health, a 5 percent increase.

_$2.4 billion for heating subsidies for the poor, $480 million more than Bush requested.

_$665 million for grants to community action agencies; Bush sought to kill the program outright.

_$63.6 billion for the Education Department, a 5 percent increase over 2007 spending and 8 percent more than Bush sought.

_a $225 million increase for community health centers.

The $471 billion defense budget gives the Pentagon a 9 percent, $40 billion budget increase. The measure only funds core department operations, omitting Bush’s $196 billion request for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, except for an almost $12 billion infusion for new troop vehicles that are resistant to roadside bombs.

Much of the increase in the defense bill is devoted to procuring new and expensive weapons systems, including $6.3 billion for the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, $2.8 billion for the Navy’s DD(X) destroyer and $3.1 billion for the new Virginia-class attack submarine.

Huge procurement costs are driving the Pentagon budget ever upward. Once war costs are added in, the total defense budget will be significantly higher than during the typical Cold War year, even after adjusting for inflation.


  1. Steve Horn

    Budget priorities – yes budget priorities. Obviously spending trillions on a war he started is far more important than the education and health of the citizens who try to earn a living and pay their taxes, who cast votes, who provide the canon fodder for his war.

    Obviously, in the mind of Bush, if you can keep the general population uneducated and in poor health they’ll be more willing to fight and die for you, as they’ll have few, if any, other career options.

    I’ve got a priority myself – to do whatever I can to ensure that another maniac like Bush doesn’t get elected to the office of President, and to ensure that we never elect another useless pack of bastards to congress like we did in 2006.

    I would like to thank the administration and congress, however. I’ve been trying to lose weight for the past few months, and the constant state of nausea that their inactions have kept me in has really helped.



  2. bryan mcclellan

    Hissy pissy sissy fits,and political posturing is whats in store for the last (what will seem an endless) year of this joke of an administration,and I don’t mean funny ha ha when I say JOKE!

  3. spartacus

    Bush once again shows his deep and abiding concern for the American people, and where his true priorities lie. For all his talk about the “culture of life”, his real belief system lies within a culture of death: if it doesn’t blow someone up, maim, kill, or destroy, then he doesn’t want it. It must be bad, bad, bad, especially if it does anything to help the people he says he is supposed to be protecting with this unjustified war of his, let alone do anything for our soldiers once they come home from that war. He should feel nothing but shame, but I know that is something totally foreign to his nature.

    Anyone who can still support this creature should have their heads examined. I know conservatives who are more than ashamed of him: Bush/Cheney stickers have been removed all over the place even in this conservative bastion (it took them long enough). His record in Texas should have shown them what was to come. His childhood thrill of attaching firecrackers to frogs (documented in a 300 page bio of him done when he was the governor of Texas with lots of quotes from his childhood friends who played with him as boys, with the frog killing being done after rains brought them out on Bush’s Texas ranch), was a dead giveaway: mass murderers often begin by killing helpless animals. People mean no more to him than those frogs did.

    This Congress has been divided, unfortunately, because there are still too many Republicans who will not break away from a president who does not have the best interests of the people at heart, unless they are the ones who are profiting by his unjustified war. Why they cling to this man I will never know. They are so afraid of the conservatives in their party; can’t they see that that wing of their party is being roundly rejected, finally, by the majority of America? Our elections in Virginia this month should prove that. Even the seats won by Republicans were won by very slim margins. Republicans need to start putting the needs of the people of this country first, and not the mania of Bush and his crazies. Killing people should not be the priority of the entire Republican party: the wellbeing of the American people should.

  4. Carl Nemo

    We are witnessing opposite sides of the same “evil” coin being exposed. The repubs are owned and controlled, lock, stock, and barrel by the MIC, the “oil patch” and a host of corporate criminals.

    The dems, once the so-called people’s party still operates in a fashion that seems to make the brain-dead folks back in Mayberry, anywhere USA ecstatic with their “pulled pork” sandwiches, courtesy of the U.S. Treasury “deli” delivered at the behest of their Congressmen and women. These backhome village idiots are more interested in petting zoo’s for iguanas, mule museums, and other such nonsense ad nauseam ad infinitum with absolutely no thought to the fact that we are flat, dead broke as a nation.

    Both sides of the this evil coin are bogus. We as a nation need to apply the national airbrakes immediately if not sooner. The war needs to be curtailed in both Iraq and Afghanistan along with the plug pulled on pork/earmarks too.

    The trouble with Bush is that spending trillions on his engineered war on terror is AOK, while the dems pork/earmarks are unacceptable. In reality they are both unacceptable!

    So I hope Bush vetos them, then the dems fail in their override. They then begin to counter Bushco’s wasteful expenditures on the so-called war on terror because they want money for their pork/earmarks. Around and round they go hopefully frazzling each other out, accomplishing little if nothing until November 2008 when we the people can make the necessary changes, kicking as many as possible out of office on “both” sides of the aisle.

    Carl Nemo **==