But in an unusual Saturday afternoon statement, the White House said it will veto any omnibus spending bill that exceeds President Bush's domestic spending request, a clear sign that the administration is unwilling to compromise on appropriations as the Christmas holidays approach. The House is expected to vote Tuesday on a $520 billion bill that wraps all domestic spending into one package, along with billions for Iraq with no troop withdrawal conditions, and the Senate is likely to follow with a vote later in the week.
White House Budget Director Jim Nussle said Saturday it's still too much money for domestic programs, and not enough for the war.
" If Congress insists on sending the president a budget-busting bill they know he will veto and that will not become law, they should also pass a continuing resolution that keeps the government running and provides the troops in the field the funds they need," Nussle said.
It's not clear if Democrats will further give in to White House demands and cut more from their domestic spending bills or whether they'll challenge him to veto an omnibus funding virtually every agency of the federal government. Democrats were hoping that President Bush would embrace a compromise on domestic spending that met the White House halfway on its spending figures if Congress gave the administration war money with no conditions.
If Democrats cut their spending bills further, they risk alienating even more in their own party who are already disappointed with the proposal to drop demands for troop withdrawal from Iraq.