President Bush vetoed a $606 billion spending measure for HHS and the Education and Labor departments that was prized by congressional Democrats. He also signed a large increase in the Pentagons non-war budget.
The presidents action was announced on Air Force One as Bush flew to Indiana for a speech expected to criticize the Democratic-led Congress on its budget priorities. 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 (D-Wis.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, pounced on Bushs 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.
Since winning re-election, Bush has sought to cut the labor, health and education measure below the prior years level. But lawmakers have rejected the cuts. The $471 billion defense budget gives the Pentagon a 9%, $40 billion budget increase. -- by the Associated Press
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