President George W. Bush ratcheted up the pressure on U.S. Democrats on Monday to adhere to his budget plans or face a string of vetoes on government spending bills.
"You're fixing to see what they call a fiscal showdown in Washington," Bush told an audience of business people in Rogers, Arkansas.
Democrats in Congress have crafted a budget for federal programs in the fiscal year that began October 1 that would spend about $22 billion more than the $933 billion Bush requested in February.
"The Congress gets to propose. And if it doesn't meet needs as far as I'm concerned, I get to veto. And that's precisely what I intend to do," Bush said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, countered, "After enacting policies that ignited record budget deficits and added more than $3 trillion to the national debt, the president simply has no standing to lecture anyone on the importance of fiscal responsibility."
Because Congress failed to send any of the annual spending bills to Bush by October 1, lawmakers and Bush approved a stopgap funding measure that expires on November 16.
Now, Democrats and the White House must either pass the various spending bills or come up with another round of temporary funds.
Both sides say they do not want to see government shutdowns over the funding dispute.
The House of Representatives has approved all 12 of the bills; the Senate completed four of them and hopes to finish two more by this week. The two chambers still have to work out their differences on the legislation.
When Republicans controlled Congress up until this year, Bush never vetoed an appropriations bill -- and government spending escalated. Now, with Democratic majorities in Congress, Bush is trying to emphasize his fiscal credentials by claiming the $22 billion in added funds would be wasteful spending by the Democrats.
Democrat counter that many domestic social programs need a boost after years of lagging budgets and that the $22 billion pales when compared with the nearly $190 billion in additional money Bush wants to continue fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.