Well Bush went ahead and vetoed the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill the other day just like he said he would, and he did it in the name of fiscal discipline. Fiscal discipline, my foot, this is about the defunding of the federal government, the promotion of endless war and The Decider’s dubious logic. The House came within two votes of overriding the veto. The vote was 277 to 141, with 51 Republicans joining 226 Democrats. Imagine that! So close and yet too far, thanks to the efforts of two men from MO. Namely, Roy Blunt and Todd Akin. They both voted against the override; the rest of the Missouri delegation supported the override. Maybe Sam Graves got motivated or then again maybe not. There might have been too much riding on this for even Graves to stomach.
Calling the bill “irresponsible” and “excessive” Bush has sought to portray it as part of a congressional plan that constitutes “runaway spending.” The bill provided for a $5 billion increase and included money for education, medical research and other human services needs. Bush would like to see this budget cut by $7 billion. That is $12 billion less than Congress wants. But this is not about fiscal discipline; it is about Bush’s values.
If it were indeed about fiscal discipline, why then would Bush insist that Congress finance the $51 billion cost of Alternative Minimum Tax relief (AMT) by incurring higher deficits rather than allowing Congress to close tax loopholes used by multimillion dollar hedgefunders to cover the cost. The tax cuts he protects will reduce revenues by about $250 billion in 2008 and will include $49 billion in tax-cut benefits just for people making more than $1 million a year.
No, this veto is about priorities – whether multi-billion-dollar tax loopholes for a tiny number of very affluent individuals matter more than the needs of much of the public.
If it were indeed about fiscal discipline, why would he push for a $32 billion or 7.5 percent increase for the DOD, and this is over and above his requests for funds to prosecute the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or his “war on terra”. He has requested another $196 billion dollars for that purpose. Congress has allocated a hefty increase of $29 billion or 6.6 percent. The Administration’s main complaint about Defense funding is that the large increase Congress provides is not large enough. There is never enough money for war for the War President. It’s gimme, gimme, gimme.
According to the Center for Policy and Budget Priorities the impact of cutting the Labor-HHH-Education down to The Bush Expectation would look something like this with respect to these specific programs.
K-12 education would be cut by $1.3 billion;
Child care, which would be cut by $33 million; Head Start, which would be cut by $254 million (the equivalent of slots for nearly 34,000 children); medical research, which would be cut by $1.4 billion; (the NIH) health centers, which would be cut by $225 million the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which would be cut by $630 million; and Home-Delivered Nutrition Services Program, which would be cut by $16 million.
In some cases, these cuts would come on top of reductions already imposed in 2007 and earlier years.
If Bush’s position prevails, Missouri will lose $21.1 million dollars in revenue as a result. That $21 million could go a long way to counter the health care cuts disaster that Boy King Blunt has engineered. Education, Head Start, energy assistance and Meals on Wheels, all programs in need, are all on the Bush Block for trimming. I guess it is no wonder Sam Graves voted to override the veto. Sane people everywhere wonder why Roy Blunt and Todd Akin did not.