- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

President Bush yesterday accused the Democrat-led Congress of wasting time with a stream of investigations into his administration and with repeated attempts to order U.S. troops pulled from Iraq, distractions that he said have stalled important business.

“Congress is not getting its work done. We’re near the end of the year, and there really isn’t much to show for it,” the president said. “The House of Representatives has wasted valuable time on a constant stream of investigations, and the Senate has wasted valuable time on an endless series of failed votes to pull our troops out of Iraq. And yet there’s important work to be done on behalf of the American people.”

Mr. Bush pointed out that Democrats have not ushered through Congress a single annual spending bill. “That’s the worst record for a Congress in 20 years. … The leadership that’s on the Hill now cannot get that job done,” he said at the North Portico of the White House, flanked by Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio, Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and two other Republican leadership members — Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Adam H. Putnam of Florida.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, fired back by saying that while “the president complains that Congress is spending too much time on oversight and on changing course in Iraq … if this administration were playing it straight with the American people, we would have nothing to investigate.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said, “The president calls congressional oversight that has uncovered tens of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse in Iraq a ‘waste of time.’ ”

“Instead of criticizing Congress, the president’s time would be better spent working in a bipartisan way to end this disastrous war in Iraq,” she said.

The president has spent the past few weeks railing against the Democratic leadership in Congress. He said yesterday that liberal lawmakers “haven’t seen a bill they could not solve without shoving a tax hike into it.”

Although Mr. Bush criticized a slew of proposed new expenditures, he never vetoed any of the massive spending bills passed when Republicans controlled Congress as federal debt increased by trillions of dollars.

“Proposed spending is skyrocketing under their leadership,” he said. “They’re trying to spend an additional $205 billion over the next five years. … Well, $205 billion over the next five years in the real world amounts to this: $4.7 million per hour, every hour, for every day, for the next five years. That’s a lot of money.”

The president warned that he would veto any Democratic “three-bill pileup” that bundles spending for defense matters, veterans affairs and labor, education and health.

“It’s hard to imagine a more cynical political strategy than trying to hold hostage funding for our troops in combat, and our wounded warriors, in order to extract $11 billion in additional social spending,” Mr. Bush said. “I hope media reports about such a strategy are wrong, I really do.”

The president also warned Congress not to bother sending him another version of a children’s health insurance bill that he will not sign. He vetoed the legislation once; the House has passed a revised version that he opposes, and the Senate is expected to take it up soon.

“After going alone and going nowhere, Congress should instead work with the administration on a bill that puts poor children first,” the president said.

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