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Bush To Reject Defense Spending

The president went nearly six years in office without vetoing a single bill, but has now had seven. In each instance, lawmakers were well aware of the

The president went nearly six years in office without vetoing a single bill, but has now had seven. In each instance, lawmakers were well aware of the White House's opposition, but passed the bills anyway, hoping Bush would either change his mind or they could override the veto.

Which is what makes veto #8 so odd.

At the behest of the Iraqi government, President Bush will veto the annual defense authorization bill, saying an obscure provision in the legislation could make Iraqi assets held in U.S. banks vulnerable to lawsuits.

The veto threat startled Democratic congressional leaders, who believe Bush is bowing to pressure from the Iraqi government over a technical provision in the bill. The veto is unexpected because there was no veto threat and the legislation passed both chambers of Congress overwhelmingly.

Democratic leaders say the provision in question could easily be worked out, but in vetoing the massive defense policy bill, military pay raises may be on hold, as well as dozens of other programs.

This is just bizarre. If the provision of the bill was so offensive, why didn't the White House, which was aware of the legislation's progress as it passed, say something sooner?

In the process, Bush has rejected a pay raise for the troops, VA care for wounded veterans, a new "Truman Commission" to fight fraud and waste by military contractors, and expanded job protections for family members of severely wounded troops.

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