President George W. Bush takes U.S. Congress to task on emergency funding bill, Social Security & Medicare, and making pro-growth tax cuts permanent
I hope many of you were able to hear President Bush this morning as he spoke to an engineering business owners group. He took the advice of his new Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and did some bragging on the impressive state of our economy and how his tax cuts have made it possible.
He chided the Democrats in Congress who have consistently fought against those tax cuts and now want to allow them to expire. He challenged the Congress to make those economic-growth-promoting and job-creating tax cuts permanent.
Bush also strongly reprimanded some in Congress who are "loading up" the Iraq War funding, Katrina reconstruction, and bird flu pandemic preparation bill with "earmarks," which he explained were for special pet projects for various states---earmarks that he said some Congress-members were "sliding" into the bill without any hearings. He made it clear he would veto the bill if it hits his desk with any extraneous spending in it that causes it it rise above $94.5B.
Earmarks can be inserted by any Congress-member, anonymously, and in secret. To deal with this type of pork-barrel spending, the President also asked the Congress to give him the line item veto. This would allow him to cut spending and "cut the deficit in half by 2009"---something the Congress appears unable to summons the backbone and fiscal responsibility to do.
Bush also revisited the subject of reforming Social Security and Medicare, so the enormous looming problem doesn't get passed on to the next President to solve. He asked both political parties in Congress to get together to pass a unity bill, so that future generations will not be denied that safety net and medical care.
Frankly, this was the strongest and most impressive and well put-together address I've heard this President make with regard to Congress' cooperation, or lack thereof, with the Executive Branch in areas of fiscal responsibility, making the tax cuts permanent to continue economic growth, doing away with junk law suits that damage the health-service community, and ensuring the continued existence of Social Security and Medicare to meet retirement and health needs for today's and future workers.
And he spiced it up with well-placed, appropriate humor and a very humble show of appreciation and love for his wife, Laura, who is working hard with her foundation---to provide new libraries in the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the failed levees.
Bravo, Mr. President! Keep it up! And keep saying it until Congress listens and pays heed!
More below and at today.reuters.
"Bush says will veto emergency spending bill if higher"
....A divided U.S. Senate so far has refused to prune an emergency spending bill to finance the war in Iraq and hurricane rebuilding, defying Bush's veto threat. The Senate bill is now inching up toward $109 billion, up from $106.5 billion last week when Bush first issued his veto threat.
"The Congress needs to hear me loud and clear. If they spend more than $92.2 (billion) plus pandemic flu emergency funds, I will veto the bill," Bush said. "It's important for there to be fiscal discipline in Washington D.C. if we want to keep this economy strong." The total that Bush would support is about $94.5 billion.
Emergency spending bills over the past few years have often become magnets for non-emergency projects as lawmakers have sought to attach their own pet programs to them...."