Why would Bush veto a Family Values Bill?
- From: middle_class_warrior <middle_class_warrior@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2007 14:25:01 GMT
The Republicans have been talking about family values for along time. Of course, in 1998, Michael Schiavo, her husband and guardian, petitioned the Pinellas County Circuit Court to remove her feeding tube. The Republican Party interfered with the case for months until a Pinellas County Republican judge told the Republican Senate to "fuck off."
Now we have a bill sponsored by an Iowa Republican that will benefit Middle Class American families. Bush says its too expensive, but the Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, said 15 states will have no medical funds for children if this bill is not passed.
What is wrong with President Bush's family values?
Bush Threatens Veto of Child Health Bill
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: September 21, 2007
WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 — President Bush, bracing for a series of battles with Congress over spending, threatened on Thursday to veto a bill expanding a popular children’s health insurance program, calling it “a step toward federalization of health care.”
The program expires Sept. 30, and Congress is on the verge of renewing it by providing coverage to an additional 4 million children over the 6.6 million already enrolled — at an additional cost of $35 billion over five years. Mr. Bush says the bill would expand a program aimed at helping the poor beyond its original intent.
The veto threat is just one of nearly a dozen the White House has issued recently aimed at a variety of bills including measures on education spending and financing for medical research. With the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Mr. Bush and Congressional Democrats are headed for a showdown over spending similar to the one that preceded the government shutdown of 1995.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers have yet to complete action on any of their 12 major spending bills. But even if they do, Mr. Bush will not sign them; he has issued veto threats on 10 of the 11 appropriations measures passed so far by the House.
At his news conference on Thursday, Mr. Bush sought to get out ahead of the Democrats by painting them as big spenders and himself as a responsible steward of taxpayers’ money. He urged Democrats to pass a temporary extension of the health insurance program, and accused them of playing politics with children’s health care by waiting until the program was about to lapse to send him legislation they know he will veto.
“In other words,” Mr. Bush said, “members of Congress are putting health coverage for poor children at risk so they can score political points in Washington.”
Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to force Mr. Bush into the uncomfortable position of vetoing a bill covering 10 million children before any spending bills reach his desk. They are casting the president as the compassionate conservative who forgot his compassion.
“They thought they were going to get a fight on spending appropriations, and what they’re getting is 10 million children’s health care,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat who is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “Sept. 30 is the deadline on kids’ health care. We’re going to meet that deadline and he’s going to get a chance to side with 10 million kids or not.”
If Mr. Bush’s emphasis on fiscal restraint is angering Democrats, it is pleasing conservatives in Mr. Bush’s own party, who have long accused the president of allowing government spending to run amok. That criticism is percolating again in Washington this week from an unlikely source: Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, who in a new book has accused Mr. Bush of putting Republican politics ahead of fiscal responsibility.
On Thursday, Mr. Bush defended himself. “I respectfully disagree with Alan Greenspan when it comes to saying that this administration didn’t handle the fiscal — the fiscal issues we faced in good fashion,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we did.”
In calling for Congress to pass a “clean, temporary extension” of the current State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Mr. Bush argued that the Democratic bill would raise taxes and allow children whose families earn up to $83,000 a year to enroll. The Democrats propose paying for the measure by raising the federal excise tax on cigarettes.
But the chief Republican sponsor of the bill in the Senate, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, said Mr. Bush “is getting bad information.” He said Mr. Bush’s reference to the $83,000 limit was drawn from a proposal put forth by New York State to receive an exemption from the program’s restrictions, which the administration recently denied.
Mr. Grassley said he appealed to the president directly Thursday morning, telling him that a long-term extension of the current law would leave children uncovered, and that the $5 billion increase in the program the president has proposed is not enough to cover more children.
“Drawing lines in the sand at this stage isn’t constructive,” Mr. Grassley said, adding, “I wish he’d engage Congress in a bill that he could sign instead of threatening a veto, and I hope he’ll still do that.”
Democrats were more pointed. Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, accused Mr. Bush of a “stubborn and uncompassionate stance,” while Representative John D. Dingell, the Michigan Democrat who is the longest-serving member of the House, called Mr. Bush’s stance “shameful.”
The House and the Senate have approved the legislation in different forms, and for the last month they have been trying to reconcile their differences. Though they have not announced the fine points of their final bill, they have agreed on its major provisions and are expected to approve it next week, in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.
But it is unlikely that the approval will come with a veto-proof margin. The bill Mr. Grassley backed in the Senate passed 68 to 31, with one vote more than the 67 necessary to override a presidential veto if all 100 senators are voting. The House version passed 225 to 204, well short of the two-thirds majority necessary for an override.
That means Democrats and the White House will almost certainly have to work together on some kind of extension if Mr. Bush issues his veto, because neither side wants to take the blame for letting the children’s health program lapse.
Robert Pear contributed reporting.
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