The House of Representatives failed to override the president’s veto of the 2008 spending bill for labor, health, and education last night, as Senate leaders began drafting a compromise.
President Bush vetoed the appropriations measure earlier this week, calling it too expensive. The House’s 277-to-141 vote last night fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.
Yesterday, shortly before the House vote, the Senate majority leader, Harry M. Reid, said Democrats would send Mr. Bush an omnibus spending bill in December that would split the difference between their budget proposals.
The compromise bill would allot $147.2-billion to labor, health, and education, about $3.5-billion less than Congress had proposed, but more than the president’s budget request of $140.9-billion, says Congress Daily. The new spending level would be 1.8 percent above the 2007 level, not enough to keep up with inflation.
The reduction would mean that education and labor programs and academic earmarks would probably be cut. Some Democrats are warning that the Pell Grant maximum may not stand.
Even so, it’s not certain that the president will agree to the compromise. The White House reacted “coolly” to the Senate proposal, brushing off the offer to negotiate, Congress Daily reports.
If the president doesn’t budge, education and labor programs could take an even bigger hit. —Kelly Field