Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R.-Tenn.) announced today that if President Bush decides to veto the emergency supplemental bill (which is already $15 billion more than he’s requested), Republicans will have enough votes—at least 35—to sustain the veto.
The announcement is a significant development for Senate Republicans, who haven’t lived up to their conservative House colleagues on fiscal matters of late. But with Frist listening to conservatives, he’s clearly heard their frustrations.
“The Republican-led Senate is serious about constraining federal spending and ensuring the government uses taxpayer dollars wisely, effectively and appropriately,” Frist said in a statement issued late this afternoon. “The Senate’s willingness to support a veto reflects that we’re not kidding about fiscal restraint and responsibility.”
Click here to download the PDF of the letter. I haven’t done an exhaustive comparison of the 35 who did sign it and the 20 who didn’t sign it, but two notable names left off this list are Senators Thad Cochran (the fiscally irresponsible chairman of the Appropriations Committee) and John McCain (who has made a career of bashing pork projects).
UPDATE — May 9: Many thanks to Andrew Morse of Anchor Rising for pointing out that McCain’s name did appear on the letter. My apologies to the senator from Arizona.