Should the Senate follow the House and pass legislation to provide congressional representation for the District of Columbia. George W. Bush will make either the second or third veto of his presidency — depending on whether that happens before or after Congress passes the supplemental appropriations package with a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq, which the President has repeatedly vowed to veto. (Bush’s first veto came last year when he issued a “thumbs down” on congressional enactment of a stem cell research package).
At the gaggle (early morning briefing) for White House reporters today, I asked Acting Press Secretary Dana Perino whether, in the event the Senate follows suit with the House in voting for the measure to give Washington DC full congressional voting representation, a veto would be forthcoming.
“We had a statement of Administration policy that we put out on that regarding the constitutional issues,” Perino told me, “The President said he would veto. Yes.”
In a follow-up question, I pointed out that the Farm Bill would be considered by Congress next week. Noting that the President had put a price tag on the national highway legislation two years ago and cautioned lawmakers that he would veto the bill if it exceeded that figure, I asked Perino if he would do the same with the Farm Bill.
“I’ll decline to speculate,” she replied, “But we’ll keep you updated on that. It’s obviously an important piece of legislation that has to get done on that.”
Perino got off a good comeback at the close of the gaggle. In expressing the sadness of the President and the First Lady over the death of historian David Halberstam, Perino was asked if Mr. Bush had ever read Halberstam’s best-known work, “The Best and the Brightest.”
“He’s read our resumes,” she replied, without missing a beat.