Senator Tom Harkin says he almost feels as if he’s being picked on by President Bush since so many bills he’s authored have been vetoed. Tuesday, Bush vetoed the spending bill for health and education which the Iowa Democrat played a key role in crafting.
Harkin says he’s been working to pass "critical legislation" on issues ranging from stem cell research to the farm bill. "But in each case, Mr. Bush has stepped in as a one-man wrecking crew using or threatening to use his veto pen," Harkin says. "I’ve been trying not to take this personally but fully half the bills that Mr. Bush has vetoed have been bills that I’ve put together."
Tuesday, Bush vetoed the health and education spending bill, which he said contained $11 billion more than Bush had requested. A veto showdown is also brewing over the farm bill. Harkin is chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee which unanimously passed the $288 billion farm bill, though the administration is threatening to veto it, saying it contains tax increases and budget gimmicks.
In addition, Bush has twice-vetoed a bill Harkin co-authored on the issue of stem cell research, which Harkin says had strong bi-partisan support. "When you add it all up, I guess I’ve become the most-vetoed senator in Washington these days. It’s not just me though. Senator Grassley brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass a new children’s health insurance bill and Mr. Bush vetoed that, too," Harkin says. "Kinda’ makes you wonder, what’s he got against Iowa? The answer of course is that he’s not just singling out Iowa and he’s not just singling out me or Senator Grassley. His values and priorities are simply out of touch with Iowans and the rest of the American people."
The House is expected to vote today on overriding Bush’s veto of the health and education legislation. Harkin says if the House is successful, the Senate will quickly follow with its own vote.