As the House prepares for its vote on a bill aimed at helping slow the mortgage meltdown, the key thing to watch is how close Democrats come to a veto proof margin. It's clear that a few dozen Republicans from areas hard hit by the mortgage crisis will vote for the bill, but it would take two-thirds of the House, or about 290 votes, to achieve the super majority that would override the veto.
In his veto threat issued Tuesday evening, President Bush said the legislation, which would include $300 billion in mortgage insurance guarantees backed by the Federal Housing Administration, would be "overly burdensome and prescriptive. It would force FHA and taxpayers to take on excessive risk, and jeopardize FHA's financial solvency."
Democrats, as well as an increasing number of moderate Republicans, say the federal government needs to get more involved in the cratering housing market. Furthermore, Democrats point out that the $300 billion in loan guarantees is not an actual cost of the bill _ it's just the estimate for how much the government would be insuring in troubled mortgages. The actual cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office is $2.7 billion over five years.