Potential Vehicle For More Social Security Funding?
The top Republican in the House made a modest but important break with President Bush over the budget Wednesday, endorsing more than $6 billion in new spending.
The surprise development removed one hurdle from among the many standing in the way of Congress completing its budget work.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has been perhaps Bush's most loyal ally in his months-long battle with congressional Democrats on the budget. His remarks came as a surprise to the White House, but reflected a realistic assessment of the budget battlefield on Capitol Hill.
Boehner endorsed adding funding above Bush's budget for border security, foreign aid and State Department operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other purposes. These "emergency" funds are supposed to reflect one-time needs and not be permanent fixtures in the budget.
Boehner remains committed to supporting Bush vetoes of any catchall spending bill that tops his budget request.
"It all passes the straight-face test," Boehner said in supporting the emergency budget items. Later, a Boehner spokesman said the top House Republican doesn't necessarily support the entire bundle of emergency spending.