Senate Defies Bush on Spending

Friday, May 05, 2006

Senate Defies Bush on Spending

That was the headline on today's Wash Post article about a $109 billion emergency spending bill to cover war and hurricane recovery costs. Despite the White House's veto threats, senators also threw in plenty of goodies for their home states -- rebuilding a highway in Hawaii, compensating shell fishermen in New England, protecting a riverbank in California, and offering future compensation to farmers "for virtually any scourge."

Obviously the Senate doesn't take the White House's talk of a veto very seriously. Why? For starters, we're five years and three months into the Bush presidency, and he hasn't vetoed a single bill yet.

The Senate's action is Pavlovian behavior. Senators have learned from experience that Bush advisers tell the press that the president "won't accept" a bill whose spending exceeds a certain level, only to see Bush sign whatever they pass.

Remember last summer's transportation bill? The final bill that Bush signed into law was $30 billion more than what the president had said he wanted.

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