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July 29, 2005

Congress assembles the goody bags for the folks back home

Back in May I noted President Bush's threat to exercise his first-ever veto if Congress submitted a highway bill that exceeded $284 billion.

According to the Wall Street Journal, wily House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pretty much guaranteed that their version of the bill will escape the veto, because: (1) the president is unlikely to quibble over the $2.6 billion by which the House bill exceeds Bush's target; and (2) Hastert scheduled the highway bill vote to be taken just after the CAFTA vote (Bush apparently did a lot of wheeling and dealing to get that passed).

It's always bothered me when presidents insist on spending targets instead of presenting principles that should guide the spending. On the other hand, I suppose that if Bush did, for example, insist that all spending in the highway bill go to actual highway construction and maintenance, GOP members of Congress would be put in the awkward position of openly defying him—since from their point of view they can't not load bills like this with pork.

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