The White House promises to veto a huge Senate bill to pay for the rising costs of the war in Iraq unless the cost to taxpayers is scaled back to his original requests.That would be the same bill with the $4.2 billion in community development block grants that Louisiana needs to go through with its housing plan.
The must-pass $106.5 billion bill exceeds President Bush's February request by more than $14 billion with add-ons for farm aid, highway repairs and aid to the Gulf Coast fishing industry, drawing the ire of the White House and conservative Republicans.
Even as the White House raised the potential of a first-ever Bush veto over the bill's cost, the administration asked the Senate on Tuesday for $2.2 billion more to repair and strengthen levees in and around New Orleans. The request wouldn't add to the overall cost of the bill since it was accompanied by a decrease in funding for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds.While asking the Senate to cut spending in the bill, Bush is effectively adding $2.2 billion through a debt-shifting shell game involving FEMA funding. I’m all for that money going to levees. But, as the proposal stands now, it is not new funding. He’s just robbing FEMA to pay the US Army Corps of Engineers.
But the White House acknowledges FEMA coffers would now have to be replenished again in the fall instead of next year under the new proposal.
Of course, when he touts how much money he’s sending to this part of the world, he’ll probably count this $2.2 billion on top of what is already in the bill.