Senate Democrats

Reid: President Bush’s Lectures On Fiscal Responsibility Lack Credibility

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to President Bush’s comments this morning:

“It is quite disingenuous for President Bush to lecture Congress on our work while he vetoes critical legislation like children’s health insurance and threatens to veto legislation that funds such critical priorities as education, medical research and housing.  And it is equally disingenuous for his loyal Republican supporters in Congress to echo this baseless claim as they stand in the way of progress by sustaining his ill-conceived vetoes and obstructing legislation at a record rate. 

“After six years of watching his Administration and Republican controlled Congresses ignore middle-class Americans and spend money like drunken sailors on the Iraq war and congressional earmarks, Congressional Democrats are putting forth fiscally responsible proposals to invest in America’s priorities.  Whether it be the President’s heartless veto of CHIP or the President’s flawed Iraq strategy that has now cost taxpayers nearly half a trillion dollars, it is clear that Republican priorities are not America’s priorities.”

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Reminding the President Why Key Legislation Has Not Become Law

“And if it doesn’t get done, I’m looking forward to reminding people as to why it’s not getting done. – President Bush, 10/17/07

THE PRESIDENT HAS VETOED KEY AMERICAN PRIORITIES

Democrats Passed War Supplemental Funding Bill With Measures to Change Direction in Iraq; President Bush Vetoed the Bill. “President Bush used his veto pen for only the second time Tuesday after Congress sent him a war spending bill that would impose timelines to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, which he called a ‘prescription for chaos.’” [NBC News, 5/1/07]  

  • 70 Percent of Americans Supported Reducing U.S. Forces in Iraq. According to a poll conducted April 9-12, 2007, shortly before the President’s veto, 60 percent of Americans supported reducing U.S. troops or removing all U.S. troops from Iraq. This number grew to 66 percent in a poll conducted June 26 to June 28. Just 21 percent supported increasing and 13 percent supported keeping the same number of troops. [NYT/CBS Poll, 7/23/07]

Democrats Passed War Supplemental Funding Bill with Minimum Wage Increase; President Bush Vetoed the Bill. Included in the Democrats’ supplemental funding bill was a measure raising the minimum wage for the first time in a decade. [Associated Press, 4/30/07]

  • 76 percent of Americans Supported Raising the Minimum Wage According to a poll conducted May 17-20, 2007, shortly after the President’s veto, 76 percent of Americans supported raising the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. [Zogby Poll, 6/5/07]

Democrats Passed a Bill to Expand Stem Cell Research; President Bush Vetoed the Bill. “President Bush yesterday vetoed legislation to expand federally funded embryonic stem cell research, saying that scientific advances now allow researchers to pursue the potentially lifesaving work without destroying human embryos.” [Washington Post, 6/21/07]

  • 64 Percent of Americans Opposed Bush’s Veto of Stem Cell Research Bill. A poll conducted April 13-15, 2007, two months before President Bush vetoed the bill, found 64 percent of Americans opposed his veto of federal funding for stem cell research. [USA Today/Gallup Poll via PollingReport.com]

Congress Passed Bipartisan Compromise CHIP Bill; President Bush Vetoed Bill. “President Bush vetoed the children’s health insurance bill today, as he had promised to do, setting the stage for more negotiations between the White House and Congress and sparking unusual dismay from some prominent Republicans.” [New York Times, 10/3/07]

  • 61 Percent of Americans Support Overriding President Bush’s Veto of Children’s Health Insurance Bill. “A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows a majority of Americans want Congress to override President Bush’s veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, otherwise known as SCHIP. The House will vote on Thursday on whether to override the veto. The poll shows that 61 percent of Americans want Congress to override it, while 35 percent do not.” [CNN, 10/17/07]

PRESIDENT BUSH HAS ISSUED NUMEROUS VETO THREATS

President Bush Never Vetoed a Spending Bill from the Republican Congress. “Before Democrats took control of Congress from Republicans in January, Bush never vetoed any of these regular spending bills, even though they created record deficits and ran up the federal debt by about $3 trillion.” [Associated Press, 7/26/07]

President Bush Signed Legislation that Exceeded His Request. Just since 2003, President Bush has signed supplemental appropriations bills that exceeded his requests by more than $11 billion (with the extra spending totaling $4.4 billion in FY03, $3.7 billion in FY04, $3.2 billion in FY05, and $48 million in FY06).  [Congressional Budget Office] 

Democratic Senate Passed Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Bill; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Democratic Senate passed the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. [Senate Vote #372, HR 3093, 10/16/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 10/4/07]

Democratic Senate Passed the Defense Authorization Bill; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Democratic Senate passed the Defense Authorization bill, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. [Senate Vote #359, HR 1585, 10/1/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 7/10/07]

Democratic Senate Passed the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Bill; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Democratic Senate passed the Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. [Senate Vote #336, HR 3074, 9/12/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 9/11/07]

Democratic Senate Passed the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Democratic Senate passed the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. [Senate Vote #325, HR 2764, 9/6/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 9/6/07]

Democratic Senate Passed the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill; President Bush Threatened to Veto the Bill. The Democratic Senate passed the Homeland Security Appropriations bill, but the President has threatened to veto the bill. [Senate Vote #282, HR 2638, 7/26/07; Statement of Administration Policy, 7/25/07]

SENATE REPUBLICANS HAVE ENGAGED IN UNPRECEDENTED OBSTRUCTION

Senate Republicans Have Already Forced 48 Cloture Votes. So far during the 110th Congress, Senate Republicans have forced 48 cloture votes. The record for an entire 2-year term is 61 cloture votes. [www.cq.com; Ornstein Column, AEI, 7/18/07]

Senate Republicans Are Threatening Filibusters to Block More Legislation than Ever Before. “This year Senate Republicans are threatening filibusters to block more legislation than ever before, a pattern that’s rooted in — and could increase — the pettiness and dysfunction in Congress. The trend has been evolving for 30 years. The reasons behind it are too complex to pin on one party. But it has been especially pronounced since the Democrats’ razor-thin win in last year’s election, giving them effectively a 51-49 Senate majority, and the Republicans’ exile to the minority. Seven months into the current two-year term, the Senate has held 42 [now 48] "cloture" votes aimed at shutting off extended debate — filibusters, or sometimes only the threat of one — and moving to up-or-down votes on contested legislation.” [McClatchy, 7/20/07]

Graphic: McClatchy, 7/20/07

Senate Is on Record-Shattering Pace for Cloture Votes. “This is a very different year, one on a record-shattering pace for cloture votes, one where the threat of filibuster has become routinized in a way we have not seen before. As Congressional Quarterly pointed out last week, we already have had 40 [now 48] cloture votes in six-plus months; the record for a whole two-year Congress is 61.” [Ornstein Column, AEI, 7/18/07]

Republicans Have Obstructed on Issues Other than Iraq. “But the obstructionist tactics have gone well beyond Iraq, to include things such as the 9/11 commission recommendations and the increase in the minimum wage, intelligence authorization, prescription drugs and many other issues.” [Ornstein Column, AEI, 7/18/07]

Senator Lott Admitted to Using Obstructionist Tactics. “Is this obstructionism? Yes, indeed–according to none other than Lott. The Minority Whip told Roll Call, ‘The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail. For [former Senate Minority Leader Tom] Daschle, it failed. For Reid it succeeded, and so far it’s working for us.’ Lott’s point was that a minority party can push as far as it wants until the public blames them for the problem, and so far that has not happened.” [Ornstein Column, AEI, 7/18/07]

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