Government Spending

Partisanship Rules

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President Bush is threatening to veto spending bills he considers too extravagant—"even if it means the possibility of a government shutdown," according to outgoing OMB Director Rob Portman (as paraphrased by National Journal's Congress Daily). Yes, the president who has surpassed LBJ in discretionary spending, who has vetoed only two bills in six-and-a-half years (rejecting funding for stem cell research and Democrats' conditions on Iraq war money), is belatedly recognizing the virtue of the veto as a means of enforcing fiscal discipline. Between Bush's sudden discovery of his veto pen and Congress' sudden discovery of its oversight powers, this divided government thing is looking pretty good so far. I am not embarrassed yet about last fall's column welcoming the impending Republican defeat.