As he had promised, President Bush vetoed today a bill to finance student aid and biomedical research in 2008. That sets the stage for Congress to attempt to override the veto this week, although the Democratic leadership faces a tough road to secure enough votes.
The bill, HR 3043, would result in a maximum Pell Grant award of $4,925 and would raise the National Institutes of Health’s budget by $1-billion, to $30-billion.
Both chambers of Congress approved the most recent version of the bill by margins that fell short of the two-thirds majority necessary for an override. Democrats will now be working to change the minds of moderate Republicans. President Bush and the Republican minority in Congress have described the bill as being full of earmarks and wasteful spending.
If an override attempt fails this week, Congress is expected to adjourn next week for Thanksgiving and rework the bill later this month or in December. The 2008 fiscal year began in October, but lawmakers approved a measure extending money for all federal programs at 2007 levels through mid-December.
“By vetoing the bill, the president is turning his back on the priorities of America’s families –- their hopes, their dreams, their opportunities,” said U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, today on the Senate floor. —Jeffrey Brainard