Bush Vetoes 2008 Labor Appropriations Bill

Congressional Democrats reacted angrily to President Bush's veto today of H.R. 3043, the $151 billion Labor/HHS/Education 2008 appropriations bill that designated a 13.6 percent increase for OSHA and a 12.6 percent increase for MSHA from 2007 funding. A White House spokeswoman said Bush vetoed the bill because it was billions of dollars above his budget request and contains 2,000 earmarks, in her words.

U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., the Health, Education and Labor Committee chairman, said with the veto, the president "has shown once again how out of touch and out of step he is with the values of America's families. Cancer research, investments in our schools, job training, protecting workers, and many other urgent priorities have all fallen victim to a president who squanders billions of dollars in Iraq but is unwilling to invest in America's future." The House Appropriations Committee's chairman, Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., also referred to Iraq in his criticism. "The same president who is asking us to spend another $200 billion on the misguided war in Iraq and is insisting on providing $60 billion in tax cuts next year to folks who make over a million bucks a year is now pretending to protect the deficit by refusing to provide a $6 billion increase to crucial domestic investments in education, health care, medical research, and worker protections that will make this country stronger," Obey said in a statement posted on his committee's site. "This is a bipartisan bill supported by over 50 Republicans. There has been virtually no criticism of its contents. It is clear the only reason the president vetoed this bill is pure politics."

The bill would provide $500.6 million to OSHA, $339.9 million to MSHA,, and $334.8 million to NIOSH for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2007. Congress overrode a Bush veto for the first time earlier last week, but that measure was a highly popular $23 billion water bill -- the Water Resources Development Act. Democrats may be unable to override his veto of the Labor/HHS/Education appropriation.

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