In the practical matter of getting spending initiatives approved, it looks like Bush is in for a bit of rough and tumble with Congress on the budget. (LAT):

In the first test of the fresh “political capital” he said he earned in winning a second term, President Bush will try to convince the lame-duck Congress that convenes Tuesday to approve money for a host of spending initiatives, such as helping community colleges and exploring outer space.

But lawmakers, including many Republicans, have their own priorities. The expected budget face-offs as this session comes to a close suggest that the White House may have trouble getting its way on spending when the new, more heavily Republican Congress convenes next year.

…One reason for congressional resistance on spending is that concern over the deficit and mounting costs for U.S. military operations in Iraq crosses party lines. In addition, the president’s requests for money for his favored programs collide with lawmakers’ desires to spend money on programs they like but which the White House is not enthusiastic about.

“Congress has its own priorities, and they’re going to balance those with that of the president,” said Amy Call, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

A House GOP leadership aide added: “You’re not going to see us throw overboard all these programs that we’ve cared about for years because the administration wants to fund a bunch of new stuff.”

…The lame-duck Congress will have to vote to raise the $7.4-trillion debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department has said will be breached Thursday. Democrats are pushing for a separate vote to make an issue out of what they contend is the Republicans’ lack of fiscal discipline.

I don’t EVER want to hear the GOP talk about Democrats being the “tax and spend” party when they are “the spend and put your kids in debt party.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding