Ignoring several veto threats, Hill claimed Bush has "shown willingness to cooperate" with Dems

››› ››› ROB DIETZ

A March 29 article by reporter Jonathan E. Kaplan in The Hill on President Bush's threat to veto the House and Senate versions of the Iraq war supplemental spending bill reported that "[s]ince Democrats took control of the House and Senate in January, Bush has signaled his willingness to cooperate with Democrats on a range of issues -- except Iraq and letting his advisors testify under oath about the U.S. attorneys scandal." But Kaplan's article provided no examples of Bush's alleged "willingness to cooperate with Democrats." In fact, Bush has issued veto threats against many other Democratic proposals, including bills concerning Medicare drug prices, labor rights, and stem cell research. According to a March 18 Associated Press article, Bush, who has vetoed only one bill during his presidency, "is poised to make up for lost time as congressional Democrats move legislation the White House says is unacceptable" by threatening to issue vetoes.

From the AP:

The president with the fewest vetoes in more than a century, George W. Bush is poised to make up for lost time as congressional Democrats move legislation the White House says is unacceptable.

In the past week alone the White House threatened to veto House bills dealing with presidential records and protection for whistle-blowers, and a defeated Senate bill that would have set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq.

[...]

Since Democrats took over Congress in January the White House has put out 22 position papers on major bills before Congress; of these, nine contain veto threats aimed at the bills or provisions in them.

In all of 2006, when Republicans ran Capitol Hill, the White House issued 61 such policy statements, with only seven veto threats. Several were reminders not to exceed or tamper with spending ceilings; two were aimed at spending bills that had wording, later removed, that would have eased U.S. penalties against Cuba.

In July, Bush issued the only veto of his presidency, killing a bill on the use of federal money for stem cell research. The veto stuck when the House failed to get the two-thirds majority needed to override it.

[...]

House bills passed under a veto cloud may die in the Senate, where minority Republicans can exercise filibuster powers. Examples include a bill that would direct the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over Medicare drug prices and a measure that would make it easier for workers to form unions.

Others measures with a better chance of reaching his desk are a revived stem cell proposal, passed by the House in its first week this year, and different versions of bills that would put in place recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission. The White House objects to them because each would give airport screeners limited bargaining rights.

Labor rights also are another source of a veto threat.

The White House says a House-passed bill providing loans to states for water projects is unacceptable because it would require that construction workers on the projects get prevailing local wages that often coincide with union scales.

The only Bush veto threat mentioned in the article in The Hill was for the Iraq war supplemental spending bill.

From Kaplan's March 29 article in The Hill:

Bush has threatened to veto the House and Senate versions of the Iraq war supplemental spending bill, which include benchmarks and a 2008 withdrawal plan. If lawmakers cannot pass a bill with the president's signature, Republicans argue, it will lead to a shutdown of the Pentagon, effectively denying funding to troops in Iraq.

"If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the front lines, the American people will know who to hold responsible," Bush said yesterday.

Since Democrats took control of the House and Senate in January, Bush has signaled his willingness to cooperate with Democrats on a range of issues -- except Iraq and letting his advisors testify under oath about the U.S. attorneys scandal. Now, for the first time, Bush and congressional Democrats could be on a collision course that could lead to a political scenario like the 1995 government shutdown.

Seeking to put Democrats on the defensive, Bush has lashed out twice since last Friday.

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