Congress Watch: Domestic Spending Tussle

It's all about the Benjamins for Congress this week as Democratic leaders anticipate a veto showdown with President Bush over spending priorities.

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It's all about the Benjamins for Congress this week as Democratic leaders anticipate a veto showdown with President Bush over spending priorities.

The Senate passed the Labor-HHS-Education bill last week, which is the largest of the 12 appropriations bills that must be signed into law to finance the federal government for fiscal 2008. Leaders are planning a reconciliation with the House and will send the final version along to President Bush, who has already threatened a veto. The Senate bill is $9.6 billion more than the president proposed, but it passed by vetoproof margins after language was removed that would have expanded embryonic stem cell research.

As U.S. News reported in September, the president's priorities for the spending bills include cuts in domestic areas like healthcare and education as well as increases in the defense budget. Bush also wanted his tax cuts extended. Democrats have argued that their bills better reflect the nation's priorities, while Bush calls their spending levels "irresponsible and excessive."

—Nikki Schwab