Bush is wasting time, not Congress

By By Luke Hinz

By Luke Hinz

President Bush lashed out at Democrats on Tuesday, saying that Congress is wasting time and “not getting its work done” by failing to agree on domestic spending.

Bush reiterated his hope that Congress would act on defense-funding legislation and a proposed compromise on the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Bush also claimed that “proposed spending is skyrocketing” under Democratic leadership.

The president and I agree that Congress is having serious troubles getting anything done, but that is not for lack of trying.

Congress passed a bill with bipartisan support reauthorizing SCHIP weeks ago, with a plan to cover four million children more than the six million already covered. Bush waved his big veto flag and knocked it down. Last week, Congress again passed the bill, but again Bush has said he will veto. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has expressed his dismay at Bush’s planned veto.

In August the Census Bureau reported 120,000 children without health insurance in Utah alone.

“If we’re truly compassionate, it seems to me, we’d want to endorse this program,” Hatch said. “I don’t think the president is somebody who doesn’t want these kids to be covered. I think he’s been given some pretty bad advice by some who, though sincere, are sincerely wrong.”

The president bristles at the thought that the new bill would expand SCHIP by $35 billion. Yet he recently called for another $196 billion to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without batting an eye.

So, while Bush bashes the Democrat-led Congress for “wasting time,” he whips out his pen and knocks down any progress. The Democrats aren’t backing down, nor should they. Bush will point his finger and say that Democrats are hurting America’s children by not authorizing this bill, but Bush has the final say. If he continues to veto it, the masses will ultimately cry foul.

The president’s other claim, that Democrats want to raise spending, while true, is calling the kettle black. Federal spending has ballooned under the Bush administration.

A recent report for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that federal contract spending grew as much as 86 percent from 2000 to 2005, to reach a high of $337.5 billion from just $203 billion. The report also identified 118 contracts worth $745.5 billion over the last five years that experienced “significant overcharges, wasteful spending or mismanagement.”

Spending on Halliburton contracts alone grew by 600 percent. The president has the audacity to say that Democrats are increasing spending while he calls for an additional $196 billion to wage war.

It’s time for the Democrats to show they have a spine, if they in fact do. Sometimes I doubt it. For President Bush to be calling their efforts a waste of time is partisan politics at its worst.

The fact that the Democrats are trying to negotiate a defense bill that would appropriate $40 to $70 million to the wars shows they are trying to reduce spending, while reining in a war that is going nowhere. That defense bill would be more than enough to give SCHIP the funding it needs.

Bush continues to rattle the cages and accuse Congress of doing nothing.

“This is not what congressional leaders promised when they took control of Congress earlier this year,” the president said on Tuesday. Mr. President, your behavior is not what you promised this country.

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