In a stunning vote that illustrated President Bush’s diminished standing, the Senate on Thursday ignored his veto threat and added tens of billions of dollars for veterans and the unemployed to his Iraq war spending bill.
A majority of Republicans broke ranks with Bush on a veto-proof 75-22 vote while adding more than $10 billion for various other domestic programs, including heating subsidies for the poor, wildfire fighting, road and bridge repair, and health research.
Democrats crowed about their victory. But the developments meant more confusion about when the must-pass measure might actually become law and what the final version will contain.
Senators voted 70-26 to approve $165 billion to fulfill Bush’s request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into next spring, when Bush’s successor will set war policy.
Overall, the measure contains $212 billion over the coming two years — $28 billion more than the administration sought — plus about $50 billion more through 2017 for veterans’ education benefits.
Bush has promised to veto the Iraq spending if it exceeds his request. He has enough GOP support in the House to sustain a veto.
But the spectacle of 25 Senate Republicans abandoning the White House and voting to extend jobless benefits by 13 weeks and boost the GI Bill to provide veterans enough money to pay for a four-year education at a public institution made it plain that Bush’s influence is waning.
This rest of this story can be found: CNN.com