Senate Democrats

FACT SHEET: President Bush’s Hypocrisy on Appropriations

President Bush’s $200 billion request for funding for the war in Iraq highlights his hypocrisy on federal spending. In almost the same breath that he asks for an additional $200 billion for an intractable civil war in Iraq, he continues to threaten to veto efforts to invest in domestic priorities like homeland security, bridge repairs and law enforcement. And the sad fact is that the President is playing politics with America’s priorities, treating appropriations from the Democratically-controlled Congress entirely differently than spending bills from the Republican-controlled Congress. President Bush needs to stop playing politics and work with Democrats to address the priorities of the American people.

HYPOCRISY #1 – SPENDING LAVISHLY ON IRAQ BUT SHORTCHANGING THINGS HERE AT HOME

Bush Administration Is Asking for Nearly $200 Billion More Primarily for War in Iraq. “President Bush will ask Congress for another $46 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and finance other national security needs, The Associated Press has learned. The figure, which Bush was expected to announce later Monday at the White House, brings to $196.4 billion the total requested by the administration for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for the budget year that started Oct. 1. It includes $189.3 billion for the Defense Department, $6.9 billion for the State Department and $200 million for other agencies… The latest request includes $42.3 billion more for the Pentagon _ already revealed in summary last month and is accompanied by a modified State Department request bringing that agency’s total for the 2008 budget year to almost $7 billion.” [Associated Press, 10/22/07]

  • But President Bush Has Threatened to Veto Spending Bills Above His Overall Budget Request. President Bush has said he will veto spending bills that exceed his overall request. The difference between Democrats’ spending bills and the president’s budget request is relatively small, $22 billion more than his $933-billion proposal, an increase of about 2 percent. The $22 billion represents less than 1 percent of the entire federal budget and Democrats contend the number pales in comparison with the amount being spent in Iraq, approximately $10 billion a month and more than $450 billion since 2003. [Los Angeles Times, 9/25/07; New York Times, 9/24/07]
    • Difference Amounts to What We Spend in Iraq in 2 Months. According to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service, the U.S. is spending approximately $10 billion per month for the war in Iraq. The $22 billion difference amounts to a little over two months spending in Iraq. [CRS Report, 7/16/07]

HYPOCRISY #2 – FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

President Bush Claims to Be Fiscally Conservative. “They also need to pass the remaining spending bills, one at a time and in a fiscally responsible way.” [President Bush Press Conference, 10/17/07]

  • But President Bush and the Republican Congress Increased Federal Spending by About 50 Percent.  Federal outlays in Fiscal Year 2001 totaled $1.86 trillion.  Outlays in Fiscal Year 2007 totaled $2.73 trillion and OMB projected outlays to total $2.92 trillion in FY08.  [Office of Management and Budget]
  • On President Bush’s Watch, Record Surpluses Turned into Record Deficits. President Bush inherited a unified budget surplus of $236 billion, the largest surplus in American history. The Bush Administration took these surpluses, and turned them into the three largest deficits in US history, including reaching a record of $413 billion in 2004. [President Bush’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2002, A Blueprint for New Beginnings, 2/28/01; Office of Management and Budget] 
  • President Bush and the Republican Congress Increased Debt by More Than $3 Trillion. Under President Bush and the Republican Congress, our national debt has risen by more than $3 trillion to about $9 trillion, or roughly $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America. [US Department of the Treasury]  
    • President Bush and the Republican Congress Doubled Foreign-Held Debt. President Bush and the Republican Congress have doubled our foreign debt to more than $2 trillion. It took 42 presidents 224 years to build up the same level of foreign debt. [Senate Budget Committee]  

President Bush Claimed He Worked With Republican Congress To Keep A Handle On Spending. “Of course, I want to remind you, I put a lot of veto threats out when the Republicans were in control of Congress. I said, now, if you overspend I’m going to veto your bills, and they listened, and we worked together.” [President Bush Press Conference, 10/17/07]

  • President Bush Signed Off on $53 Billion More Than He Requested in FY 2006 Mainly to Pursue His Flawed Iraq Strategy.  In FY 2006, President Bush signed appropriations that exceeded his request by $53 billion. Most of the funding above his request was for defense and the war in Iraq. [Congressional Research Service]
  • But President Bush Signed Legislation that Exceeded His Request. Just since 2003, President Bush has allowed Congress to increase his supplemental appropriations 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]

Now President Bush Is Claiming to Impose His Topline Discrectionary Spending Number, $22 Billion Below Congressional Budget Resolution. “To achieve this important goal, the Administration supports a responsible discretionary spending total of not more than $933 billion in FY 2008, which is a $60 billion increase over the FY 2007 enacted level. The Democratic Budget Resolution and subsequent spending allocations adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee exceed the President’s discretionary spending topline by $22 billion, causing a 9 percent increase in FY 2008 discretionary spending.” [Office of Management and Budget, Statement of Administration Policy, 9/6/07]

HYPOCRISY #3 – VETOING APPROPRIATIONS BILLS

President Bush Never Vetoed a Spending Bill from the Republican-Controlled 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]

  • But President Bush Has Threatened to Veto 10 of 12 Appropriations Bills From the Democratic-Controlled Congress. President Bush has threatened to veto all but two appropriations bills from Congress. [Office of Management and Budget]

HYPOCRISY #4 – VETO THREATS AND WARNINGS

President Bush Claimed That He Issued Veto Threats When Republicans Controlled Congress. “And you bet I’m going to put veto threats out. Of course, I want to remind you, I put a lot of veto threats out when the Republicans were in control of Congress.” [President Bush Press Conference, 10/17/07]

  • But President Bush Has Issued Almost Twice As Many Veto Threats So Far in 2007 As He Did During All of 2001-2006. So far in 2007, President Bush has personally issued 46 veto threats. In contrast, in his first 6 years in office, he issued just 28 veto threats. Total veto threats and warnings issued by the Office of Management and Budget from the President, his senior advisers and his Agencies during the first 6 years of the Bush Administration was 145. Already this year, OMB has issued 51 such threats.

Veto Threats Under President Bush

                                       President Bush            Senior Advisers           Agencies           Total

107th Congress             6                                11                                        4                        21
(2001-2002)

108th Congress             9                                47                                        5                        61
(2003-2004)

109th Congress            13                                46                                      4                        63
(2005-2006)

110th Congress            46                                52                                        3                    101
(through 10/17/07)

Source: Office of Management and Budget, via The Hill, 10/23/07