Bush tells Congress to pass continuing resolution

With a week left in fiscal 2007 and no appropriations bills at the White House, President Bush urged Congress today to pass a continuing resolution with no strings attached.

Bush told a group of business leaders that legislators should pass the resolution to keep the government running at current funding levels, but the resolution should include no new spending or policies, unless the president and Congress agree in advance on them.

But House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said in a statement that he met with Jim Nussle, director of the Office of Management and Budget, last week and told him Congress intends to pass a clean resolution. He said he offered Nussle the chance to bring up any exceptions the Bush administration wanted to include in the legislation.

“And they sent us over a dozen changes that they wanted,” he said. “Telling the Congress to pass a clean continuing resolution is the equivalent of the rooster claiming credit for the sunrise.”

Obey said the president shouldn’t manufacture an argument when there isn’t one.

“This is the time when we ought to be sitting down to work out reasonable compromises with each other instead of issuing phony challenges or posing for political holy pictures,” he said.

With chances slim for passing 12 appropriations bill before Oct. 1, Bush also threatened to veto an aggregate appropriations bill if it should come across his desk. He said congressional leaders may lump the 12 outstanding appropriations bills into one trillion-dollar bill.

“If they think that by waiting until just before they leave for the year to send me a bill that is way over budget and thicker than a phone book, if they think that’s going to force me to sign it, it’s not,” he said.

Congress has yet to pass a fiscal 2008 appropriations bill. Although the House has passed all 12 bills, the full Senate has voted on only four of them.

So far, the House and Senate passed the Homeland Security Department, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, the State Department and Foreign Operations, and the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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