November 16, 2007

Democrats Lose Another Veto Challenge

The Democrats thought they had turned the corner in the battle against George Bush when they overturned his veto on the pork-filled water projects bill last week. Yesterday they discovered that the White House has plenty of fight left as the House could not override his veto on the proked up Labor/HHS funding appropriation. They fell almost twenty votes short, and now must rework the bill to gain enough strength to pass it:

House Democrats were unable to override President Bush's veto of a key domestic spending bill yesterday, forcing the party back to the drawing board on some of its most important domestic initiatives, including early-childhood education and heating-bill payments for the elderly.

With a vote of 277 to 141, Democrats lost their bid to defy Bush's veto of the labor, health and education bill. The vote was a setback for the Democratic social agenda championed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (Wis.), the bill's chief architect.

The $606 billion bill includes spending for entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as $151 billion in discretionary spending, including more money for medical research, Head Start, student loans, job training and a range of assistance programs for low-income people.

The bill is the largest of a dozen 2008 spending bills at the center of a battle between the White House and Congress over the federal budget. It was the first to draw a veto from Bush, who has threatened to do the same to most appropriations bills because of what he says is excess spending by Congress.

The Democrats once again tried to paint the battle as a contrast between domestic spending with the cost of the war in Iraq. That curious strategy never quite works, mostly because most Americans understand that one does not restore fiscal sanity by spending more on domestic programs as a protest to war policy. The argument makes no sense on its face; if the war costs so much, wouldn't it be prudent not to expand domestic spending in order to make the necessary sacrifices for success? After all, the Democrats have not even attempted to cut off Iraq spending, only unsuccessfully tried to tie the administration's hands on deployments.

David Obey called Republicans "lemmings" for upholding Bush's veto. However, Obey could have sacrificed his twelve earmarks in this bill in order to set an example to the hundreds of other legislators who put over 2,000 pork-barrel line items into this appropriation. Charles Rangel's Monument to Me certainly didn't get challenged by Democratic leadership or rank-and-file, even after John Campbell (R-CA) spoke out against the $2 million self-aggrandizement project on the House floor. All of that spending could buy some home heating oil this winter , too, but Democrats didn't consider redirecting that money back into that project.

Democrats want to use these battles to build support for next year's Congressional elections. They seem to think that Americans believe that Congress doesn't spend enough money. That strategy will certainly get tested in 2008, and I doubt it will prove a winning message. Even if Bush has enabled profligate spending in the past, he's holding the line now on even worse budgets, and the Republicans should gain some traction with every appropriation that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid attempt to secure.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Democrats Lose Another Veto Challenge:

» The politics of spending too much from Moonage Political Webdream
Here’s where the congressional budget process has gone wrong the last twenty years or so for those that think Congress spends too much: Now, the problem I have here is this is a two part issue that sums all the problems in Congress right now: S... [Read More]

» Democrats NEED the loss…doesn’t look like they will get it. from Wise Golden Retriever
Michelle Malkin has the wrap-up on the latest cruel actions from the Democratic Congress towards our troops. Captain’s Quarters talks about their attempt to over-ride a recent veto Macsmind believes this will definately cost them the 2008 electi... [Read More]

» Early Childhood Today from Early Childhood Today
your child\'s special musical journey today and from [Read More]

Please note that unverified Disqus users will have comments held in moderation. Please visit Disqus to register and verify your account. Comments from verified users will appear immediately.