Road Kill?

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It's probably an April Fools prank, but Bush might veto a big spending bill, according to reports. (He has yet to veto anything since entering office.)

The White House originally proposed a six-year $256 billion highway bill, $38 billion more than the previous six-year period. The House wants $275 billion. The Senate already approved $318 billion.

The House bill authorizes $217.4 billion for highways, $51.5 billion for public transit and about $6 billion for safety and research programs.

It contains about $11 billion for "high priority" projects requested by members. Fiscal watchdogs name some of these, for riverwalks, museums, trails and building reservations, as some of the "pork" members are taking home to their constituents.

Some examples of that here.

NEXT: Along Comes Kinja

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  1. It may be Bush wishes to veto the package bill (in part, to regain SOME credibility on spending) while he would exercise greater control by handing out the pieces of it.

    SOME curbs on spending are inevitable, now or in the near future, anyway. The markets, and the health of the economy demands it…and that will be true regardless of the election outcome.

  2. Andrew,
    “SOME curbs on spending are inevitable, now or in the near future, anyway. The markets, and the health of the economy demands it…and that will be true regardless of the election outcome.”

    But do a majority of the voters demand it? I doubt it, and isn’t that what really counts?

  3. I won’t even pretend that a Democrat would veto this bill.

    That said, I won’t even pretend to be optimistic that Bush will follow through on his veto threat.

    Overall, Republicans may be better than Democrats on spending, but Bush is an obvious exception to that rule. If you are going to vote for Bush or Kerry, there may be plenty of issues where one can find a difference between them (then again, there may not be…) but spending isn’t one of them.

  4. Eric

    I would guess there has been enough media hand-wringing about the deficit that the President has the political luxury of saying “No”…whether he wants to is still an open question.

    The economy is in a (so far) modest recovery, and I don’t see a huge swell in the electorate for new spending projects. It’s a chance for Bush to look “statesmanlike” and “presidential”.

  5. thoreau

    You are probably right, in general, although I think this bill may be pared-down before of after a veto. But Kerry might have done as much, and won’t be spending near as much as he “promises”, if elected.

  6. “It’s probably an April Fools prank, but Bush might veto a big spending bill. (He has yet to veto anything since entering office.)”

    It is. In the end, he’ll sign it, in my opinion. I don’t see Dubya doing anything this year to give Kerry any more ammunition against him.

    This is just election-year grandstanding, trying to convince disgruntled conservatives like myself that he’s serious about cutting spending.

  7. George Bush doesn’t have the sack to veto the highway bill. Nobody does.

  8. Eric – Isn’t the term “disgruntled conservative” kind of redundant? 😉

  9. Actually, it’s two modifiers without a noun. The question is, a disgruntled conservative WHAT?

  10. Jeff,
    The term conservative has been used as a noun for decades. It can, of course, also be used as an adjective (conservative liberatrian, for example).

  11. Eric – I’m just being goofy, bud, relax. HOWEVER, it does bring up a good point – how does one even define the terms liberal and conservative these days, particularly with the administration and Republican congress spending like drunken sailors.

    It all depends on context, I suppose. I’m told that in Russia, the term conservative applies to unrepentent Communists.

  12. No problem, Jeff. As an English major, I tend to be picky about minor and inconsequential grammar and usage issues.

    I share your confusion about labels. Calling commie pinkos “conservatives” is not very useful. The press also calls the Islamic clerics ruling Iran “conservatives,” too.

    Of course, more and more, calling Republicans conservative is outdated.

  13. Disgruntled, conservative grump. Disgruntled, liberal frump. Grammar problem solved.

  14. How about “disgruntled Forrest Gump?”

    “The Republican pahty is lahk a box o’ chock-lets – ya can never tell whatcher gonna get.”

  15. “She taisted lahk cigahraittes!”

  16. I think y’all need to change the spark plugs on this site. Maybe the air filter, too. Gettin’ kinda sluggish.
    Crack the hood and I’ll take a look.

  17. Jeeter, I think a bunch of us, starting with me, need to go get a life for a while. Getting flakey and stupid. But FUN! 😉

  18. Federal spending has exploded at an inflation-adjusted 7.8% annual rate since Bush took office. Bush has even proposed more spending then has been passed! The GOP members in congress have failed to restrain Bush’s big spending agenda like they did Clinton’s. This is probably due to, at least in part, the post 9/11 “rally round the Pres.” sentiment.

    The Republicans in congress are, however, far more frugal then the Dems. The most frugal 45 or 50 members of the house are all conservative Republicans. Same for the top 20 in the senate. Also, check out the huge difference between the two party’s members in aggregate. See: NTU.org

    What to do? I say, forget about Bush. Work to elect more frugal Republicans to congress. Dump Democrats and ignore the Republicans who are RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). NTU.org will give data on just who the big spenders are.

  19. “how does one even define the terms liberal and conservative these days, particularly with the administration and Republican congress spending like drunken sailors.

    It all depends on context, I suppose. I’m told that in Russia, the term conservative applies to unrepentent Communists”

    Politics is about power relations. Conservatives want to conserve the power relations of the existing order, whatever that might be in any given location or period. Once upon a time, when royalists and aristocrats in England held all the cards, shifting power to American born entrepreneurs was liberalization. Today, protecting the power of that same group is conservative.

    The connection between conservatism and small govenment/low spending/low deficits was specific to a certain time and place, during a period of government activism aimed at liberal causes (empowering the poor, racial minorities, women, and others who were holding the short end of the stick). In 1990, those Russians who wanted to keep power in the hands of the Communist state apparatus were conservatives.

  20. What happened to the Concord Coalition?

  21. ^huh? Setting aside the lofty procedural arguments, Barry Goldwater ran a campaign committed to protected 1) the ability of white Southerners to disempower black people(anti-integration), 2) the ability of upper income people to keep their money from being spent on programs aimed at improving the lot of poor individuals and communities (anti-welfare), and 3) ability of foreign oligarchs to maintain their political station in the face of populist uprisings (hawkish “anticommunism”.)

    Setting aside the efficacy and rightness of those positions, and looking purely at power relations, Barry Goldwater was working to protect the interests of the powerful against liberal or leftist projects that would have upended those power relations. Very conservative.

  22. So when did Barry Goldwater stop being a conservative?

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