Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Obey calls out Bush on budget

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey has basically decided to tell Bush and Congressional GOP to “stick it” on a new budget. Tired of bad-faith negotiations from the White House, he’s going to craft a new budget that meets the WH overall bottom line, while stripping out every earmark necessary to meet that bottom line, as well as a bunch of Bush priorities.

“When the White House refuses to compromise, when the White House continues to stick it in our eye, I say to hell with it.”

And, he’s prepared to wait Bush out:
“If anybody thinks we can get out of here this week, they're smoking something illegal,” he said.

Especially given that, barring some surprise change, whatever budget the House passes is going to add massive Iraq funding in House-Senate conference anyway, I’m in favor of the budget getting stuck for several months, not just a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, at least a few House Republicans ARE sweating:
“There are a lot of people who were very disappointed last year when nobody got any earmarks. If they do it again for the second year in a row, it will be a very bitter pill to swallow,” said Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), an appropriator who complained that he could lose $400,000 he needs for the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial celebration, slated to begin Feb. 12.

LaHood is not the only Republican appropriator who is angry at the White House and at GOP leaders who have refused to negotiate with Democrats on domestic spending levels. In recent days, Rep. David L. Hobson (Ohio), ranking Republican on the Appropriations subcommittee in charge of energy and water projects, had a heated discussion with House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), arguing that Boehner should come off his hard line.

Rep. James T. Walsh (N.Y.), another senior Republican appropriator, took to the House floor to argue: “If the proposal is to split the difference, to reduce the amount of spending above the president's request by $11 billion, I would advise the president to take yes for an answer.”

Right now, there’s not enough movement to create a veto-proof majority, but the longer Congressmen have to withdraw from pork addiction, the more antsy they will get.