The Washington Post reports today that a deal on an omnibus domestic spending bill has fallen through after Congressman David Obey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, complained that the Republicans were “bargaining in bad faith” on the proposal. The Democrats had proposed a $520 billion spending bill that would include additional domestic spending that the Democrats want but would have also included additional money for Afghanistan and Iraq that the White House has been pressing. The proposal triggered a strong response from OMB director Jim Nussle, who said that if Congress passed such a bill, “the President would veto it”, causing Obey to announce the deal was off.
Obey said he would instead press for a bill that heeded the administration’s spending limits by cutting out earmarks, Iraq and Afghanistan funding, and “most of the Bush administration’s top priorities”. And what might those priorities be, the Post asks? “One possibility would be funding for abstinence education. Other targets could be nuclear weapons research and development in the Energy Department, NASA programs and high-technology border security efforts that have come under criticism for being wasteful and ineffective, said Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense.” How much, if anything, Obey would cut from NASA isn’t mentioned in the article.
In any case, don’t expect a resolution soon. “If anybody thinks we can get out of here this week, they’re smoking something illegal,” Obey said.