The Republicans held the line and staved off one attempt at the Dems’ massive entitlement expansion the S-CHIP program. They’ll have to join the White House to kill it again soon. President Bush and the GOP face another showdown over spending and other legislative priorities. He’ll be speaking shortly over appropriations, FISA, and the Mukasey nomination. Stand by…
9:38am Eastern. Bush speaks, flanked by GOP leadership:
“Congress is not getting it’s work done. We’re near the end of the year and there isn’t much to show for it. The House is wasting valuable time on a constant stream of investigations and the Senate has wasted valuable time trying to pull our troops out of Iraq.”
Bush lambastes the new S-CHIP entitlement bill. “We want to sit down in good faith and come up with a good bill that’s responsible.” Criticizes Dem ploy to hold military spending hostage unless GOP coughs up social and education spending with it.
More notable quotables from the Bush remarks via the White House communications office:
“There are now reports that congressional leaders may be considering combining the Veterans and Department of Defense appropriations bills, and then add a bloated Labor, Health and Education spending bill to both of them. It’s hard to imagine a more cynical political strategy than trying to hold hostage funding for our troops in combat and our wounded warriors in order to extract $11 billion in additional social spending. I hope media reports about such a strategy are wrong, I really do. If they’re not, if the reports of this strategy are true, I will veto such a three-bill pileup. Congress should pass each bill one at a time in a fiscally responsible manner that reflects agreement between the legislative branch and the executive branch.”
President Bush: “[I]f the reports [of Congress combining spending bills] are true, I will veto such a three-bill pileup.” “Congress should pass each bill one at a time in a fiscally responsible manner that reflects agreement between the legislative branch and the executive branch.” (President George W. Bush, Statement After Meeting With House Republican Conference, The White House, 10/30/07)
· “It would be irresponsible to not give our troops the resources they need to get their job done because Congress was unable to get its job done.” “[I]t seems like we ought to be able to agree that we’re going to support our troops who are in harm’s way. I know the members feel that way, standing with me. I hope the leadership feels that way, and they ought to give me a bill that funds, among other things, bullets, and body armor, and protection against IEDs, and mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.”
· “I again urge them to pass a clean Defense appropriations bill, and a war supplemental bill to fund our troops in combat.”
· “I again ask Congress to send me a clean Veterans funding bill that we have already agreed to by Veterans Day, so we can keep America’s promise to those who have defended our freedom and are recovering from injury.”
“There Is Important Work To Be Done On Behalf Of The American People”
President Bush: “Congress has been unable or unwilling to get its basic job done of passing spending bills.” “They have not been able to send a single annual appropriations bill to my desk, and that’s the worst record for a Congress in 20 years. One of the important responsibilities of the Congress is to pass appropriations bills. And yet the leadership that’s on the Hill now cannot get that job done.”
· “They haven’t seen a bill they could not solve without shoving a tax hike into it.” “You know, they proposed tax increases in the farm bill, the energy bill, the small business bill, and of course, the SCHIP bill.”
· “[P]roposed spending is skyrocketing under their leadership. After all, they’re trying to spend an additional $205 billion over the next five years.” “Some have said, well, that doesn’t matter much; it’s not that much money. Well, $205 billion over the next five years in the real world amounts to this: $4.7 million per hour, every hour, for every day, for the next five years. That’s a lot of money.”
“After Going Alone And Going Nowhere, Congress Should Instead Work With The Administration On [An SCHIP] Bill That Puts Poor Children First”
President Bush: “Despite knowing it does not have a chance of becoming law, the Senate will now take up the second SCHIP bill the House passed last week. I believe the Senate is wasting valuable time.” “This [SCHIP] bill, remarkably, manages to spend more money over five years than the first bill did.”
· Congress’ SCHIP bill “proposed tax increases [that] would actually pay for 2 million people to move from private health insurance to an inefficient, lower-quality, government-run program.” “We want a bill that enrolls the more than 500,000 poor children currently eligible for the program who are not a part of the program.”
Speaking of S-CHIP, the Dems continue to bray that “it’s paid for.” Here’s how:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own party is turning on her, apparently because of a perception among California Democrats that she has not done enough to shake up the status quo in Washington, D.C., according to a Field Poll released Friday.
Congress overall is doing even worse with California voters, with an approval rating sagging to 30 percent or below for only the seventh time in the past 15 years, the poll of 1,201 registered voters found. Both Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who became speaker this year, and Congress as a whole have fallen short of voter expectations since taking over both houses, poll director Mark DiCamillo said.
“I think the reason for her decline and the low ratings Congress is getting is that voters here are not seeing any change,” DiCamillo said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s approval rating of 51 percent is down 10 percentage points since March, but consistent with her average over the years. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s rating also has slumped, from 54 percent in March to 44 percent. Both Boxer and Feinstein, however, still enjoy the approval of more voters than disapproval of them.
For Pelosi, it was the first time the poll showed more people disapproving than approving of her performance – 40 percent to 35 percent, with 25 percent having no opinion.
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