As would be expected, Bush held a press conference (video here (.wmv)) expressing sympathy for the people of the Minneapolis area the day after the massive bridge collapse. As should be expected, Bush used it as an opportunity to slam and blame the Democrats.
We also talked about — in the Cabinet meeting talked about the status of important pieces of legislation before the Congress. We spent a fair amount of time talking about the fact that how disappointed we are that Congress hasn’t sent any spending bills to my desk. By the end of this week, members are going to be leaving for their month-long August recess. And by the time they will return, there will be less than a month before the end of the fiscal year on September the 30th, and yet they haven’t passed one of the 12 spending bills that they’re required to pass. If Congress doesn’t pass the spending bills by the end of the fiscal year, Cabinet Secretaries report that their departments may be unable to move forward with urgent priorities for our country.
This doesn’t have to be this way. The Democrats won last year’s election fair and square, and now they control the calendar for bringing up bills in Congress. They need to pass each of these spending bills individually, on time, and in a fiscally responsible way.
The budget I’ve sent to Congress fully funds America’s priorities. It increases discretionary spending by 6.9 percent. My Cabinet Secretaries assure me that this is adequate to meet the needs of our nation.
Unfortunately, Democratic leaders in Congress want to spend far more. Their budget calls for nearly $22 billion more in discretionary spending next year alone. These leaders have tried to downplay that figure. Yesterday one called this increase — and I quote — “a very small difference” from what I proposed. Only in Washington can $22 billion be called a very small difference. And that difference will keep getting bigger. Over the next five years it will total nearly $205 billion in additional discretionary spending. That $205 billion averages out to about $112 million per day, $4.7 million per hour, $78,000 per minute.
Put another way, that’s about $1,300 in higher spending every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year for the next five years. That’s a lot of money — even for career politicians in Washington. In fact, at that pace, Democrats in Congress would have spent an extra $300,000 since I began these remarks.
And President Bush, how much have we spent in Iraq since you began your comments? Nevermind the crassness and insensitivity to the Minneapolis residents of turning this into an opportunity to play partisan politics–after six years, we’ve come to expect that. But to be so tone deaf as to chastise the Democrats for fiscal irresponsibility when he is responsible for the largest budget deficit in the history of this country and due to his wrong-headedness on Iraq, literally bleeding money into the sands of Baghdad just shows how completely out of touch with reality this President is.