The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved its second and third fiscal 2008 spending bills that exceed President Bush’s requests, a $31.6 billion Energy and Water measure and a $64.7 billion Military Construction-Veterans Affairs spending bill.
Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman has said he will recommend a veto of any spending bill that goes over Bush’s top-line. But that could prove difficult, particularly in the case of the Military Construction-VA bill, which would provide $3.8 billion above Bush’s request for veterans’ medical care.
House Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Chet Edwards, D-Texas, called for a recorded vote after the measure appeared to pass unanimously by voice vote.
Despite GOP objections, Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., called the roll and the measure was approved 56-0. Appropriations ranking member Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., did not vote — when it was his turn he simply said, “We passed the bill.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., also dismissed the administration’s veto threats Wednesday, noting the president accepted some additional spending in the Iraq supplemental, including extra funds for VA health care. “We are hopeful that will happen again,” Hoyer said.
On Tuesday, the panel approved its first spending bill, a Homeland Security measure that goes $2 billion above Bush’s request. It will consider Thursday an Interior-Environment measure that contains a similar increase.