Republican Moderates May Walk Away From Veto Threat
Big Spenders Back Democrat Appropriations Bills
By Bluey Posted in Congress | Featured Stories — Comments (17) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
The coalition of 147 House Republicans who signed a letter vowing to sustain President Bush's spending vetoes might be falling apart. An article in Congressional Quarterly reveals that some of the Republicans who signed the letter have voted in favor of the Democrats' budget-busting bills; meanwhile, others might try to wiggle their way out of the promise. Here's an excerpt:
“I’m boxing myself in, in a very strange way, and I have to figure it out,” said Christopher Shays of Connecticut, the only House Republican from New England to survive the 2006 election. “I’m going to re-look at the letter I signed and may have to go down to the White House and say I’m not on board.”
So far, the House has considered four fiscal 2008 spending bills that the president has threatened to veto over cost: Energy-Water (HR 2641), Homeland Security (HR 2638), Interior-Environment (HR 2643) and Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3043). Overall, 62 lawmakers who signed the pledge have voted for at least one of those bills.
Four House Republicans — Shays, Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland, Steven C. LaTourette of Ohio and Mike D. Rogers of Alabama — who signed the letter nonetheless have voted to pass all four bills.
Just last month I called the letter as a sign of renewed discipline on fiscal restraint, but perhaps I should have known better. We've seen this kind of behavior in the past. It's reminiscent of the promise you'll get on the campaign trail, only to find your lawmaker do the exact opposite in Congress. Let's face it, some politicians just can't get enough pork.
Complicating matters for President Bush is the fact that the Office of Management and Budget is undergoing a transition between directors. With Democrats showing no sign of confirming former Rep. Jim Nussle before the August recess, the administration isn't exactly in the best spot. That's probably part of the Democrats' plan. If they can peel off moderates like Shays (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 41.6%), Gilchrest (61.2%) and LaTourette (72%), then Bush will be left no choice but to give in to higher spending or face a government shutdown.