CRAWFORD, Tex. – Even while trying to reach out to Democrats to fashion a new immigration bill, President Bush lashed out Saturday at the opposition party for its budget policies and served notice once again that he plans to veto bills with “excessive spending.”
In his weekly radio address, Bush said the Democrats’ “tax and spend” approach is endangering economic growth and budget-balancing efforts.
“They’ve passed a budget that would mean higher taxes for American families and job creators, ignore the need for entitlement reform and pile on hundreds of billions of dollars in new government spending over the next five years,” Bush said.
The address was another signal that Bush and Congress are headed toward a battle over spending this fall, as lawmakers begin moving through the 12 annual spending bills funding federal agencies and programs. Bush is trying to hold discretionary spending to no more than $933 billion for the coming fiscal year – roughly $60 billion more than the current year – but Democrats in Congress are pushing for an additional $23 billion for domestic programs.
When the Republicans were in charge on Capitol Hill, Bush was less fastidious about policing spending, deferring to Republican leaders on the appropriations bills. But with Democrats in charge, Bush has begun threatening to use a veto pen he has used only twice.
Democrats criticized Bush’s threat as irresponsible. “Democrats have crafted bipartisan funding bills that make modest but critical increases in priority investments like education and health care,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement released by his office. “The increases are equivalent to what President Bush spends in two months in Iraq. The President should join Democrats in investing in America’s future and sign these bills into law.”