Bush vetos $23 billion for projects like repairing hurricane damage.
Bush Vetoes Water Projects Bill
By JENNIFER LOVEN Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An increasingly confrontational President
Bush on Friday vetoed a bill authorizing hundreds of popular
water projects even though lawmakers can count enough votes to
Bush brushed aside significant objections from Capitol Hill,
even from Republicans, in vetoing legislation that provides
$23 billion for projects like repairing hurricane damage,
restoring wetlands and preventing flooding in communities
across the nation.
It appears certain Bush will have his veto overridden for the
first time in his presidency. The bill passed in both chambers
of Congress by well more than the two-thirds majority needed
to override Bush's decision and make the measure law.
"When we override this irresponsible veto, perhaps the
president will finally recognize that Congress is an equal
branch of government and reconsider his many other reckless
veto threats," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
"More than two years after failing to respond to the
devastation and destruction of Hurricane Katrina, he is
refusing to fund important projects guided by the Army Corps
of Engineers that are essential to protecting the people of
the Gulf Coast region," Reid said.
Bush objected to $9 billion in projects added during
negotiations between the House and Senate. He hoped that his
action, even though it is sure not to hold, would cast him as
a friend to conservatives who demand a tighter rein on federal
Bush never vetoed spending bills under the Republican
Congress, despite budgetary increases then, too. Attempting to
demonstrate fiscal toughness in the seventh year of his
presidency, Bush risked being criticized for doing too little,
too late and of waging a transparently partisan attack against
the Democrats who now run Capitol Hill.
The president took the gamble, though without any public
fanfare, as part of a broader effort to take on Democratic
leaders frequently and more pointedly.
It was Bush's fifth veto. Four of those have come since
Democrats took over Congress in January.
Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, pledged to work to override the
veto. "We are facing a water infrastructure crisis and our
national investment in water resources has not kept pace with
our level of economic expansion," Voinovich said.
But Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin applauded Bush
for vetoing a "flawed, bloated bill. Instead of trying to
override the veto, Congress should take this opportunity to
fix the bill."
Stephen Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group Taxpayers
for Common Sense, said lawmakers should "go back to the
drawing board and come back with a responsible bill that meets
the country's needs while not sinking our fiscal ship."
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Bush issued veto
threats under the GOP-controlled Congress that were enough to
do the job.
"Republicans heeded the president's concerns, stayed within
his spending caps, and avoided vetoes," he said. "Democrats
are intent on exceeding those caps, and if they do the
president will veto those bills."
The water project legislation originally approved by the
Senate would have cost $14 billion and the House version would
have totaled $15 billion. Bush and a few Republicans
complained that the final version was larded with unneeded pet
projects pushed by individual lawmakers - sending the overall
cost of the bill much higher.
Bush vetoed the bill because it is "fiscally irresponsible"
and falls outside the scope of the mission of the Army Corps
of Engineers, White House press secretary Dana Perino said.
Critics noted the Corps already has a backlog of $58 billion
worth of projects and an annual budget of only about $2
billion to address them.
If Bush is overridden, the measure would give a green light to
projects in virtually every state. It only authorizes the
projects; the actual funding must be approved separately.
The authorizations include:
-$3.6 billion for major wetlands and other coastal
restoration, flood control and dredging projects for
Louisiana, a state where coastal erosion and storms have
resulted in the disappearance of huge areas of land;
-nearly $2 billion for the restoration of the Florida
-nearly $2 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to build
seven new locks on the upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers;
-$7 billion for various projects related to hurricane
mitigation in Mississippi and Louisiana, including assuring
100-year levee protection in New Orleans;
-hundreds of smaller dredging, wetlands restoration and flood
control projects across the country.
Previous Bush vetoes include two of bills allowing expanded
federal research using embryonic stem cells, a spending bill
that would have required troop withdrawals from Iraq, and
legislation to expand a children's health insurance program.
A government, of, by, and, for: Rich, Elite, Freemasons.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the
for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
The light shineth in darkness;
and the darkness comprehended it not.
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be
thy whole body shall be full of light.
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of
If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great
is that darkness!
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,
and Christ shall give thee light.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.