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Bush Says Congress is Not Getting Its Work Done


President Bush is criticizing the Democratic led Congress for failing to approve legislation to fund the government. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Democrats say the president is blocking a bill that would expand health coverage for poor children.

President Bush says Congress is not getting its work done. "The House of Representatives has wasted valuable time on a constant stream of investigations. And the Senate has wasted valuable time on an endless series of failed votes to pull our troops out of Iraq," he said.

Since taking control of Congress earlier this year, Democrats in the House have investigated the Justice Department's firing of several prosecutors. Senate Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to force the president to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

President Bush says they should have been passing appropriations bills to fund the federal government.

Democrats are now considering combining appropriations for the Defense Department and Veterans' Administrations with labor, health, and education spending. If they do, the president says he will veto what he calls a three-bill pile-up. "It is hard to imagine a more cynical political strategy than trying to hold hostage funding for our troops in combat and our wounded warriors in order to extract $11 billion in additional social spending," he said.

The president says Democrats are trying to raise taxes in legislation on farming, energy, small businesses and a program providing health insurance for poor families.

Mr. Bush says he supports expanding that health insurance program but not as much as Democrats want because he says that would move more people off private insurance and into government-run programs.

The president has already vetoed that legislation once. Democrats are pushing it again with changes sought by some Republicans to ensure that wealthier families and undocumented illegal immigrants are not eligible.

California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez says Republican lawmakers are blocking much-needed help for poor children. "Republicans in this body just can't take yes for an answer. Even after addressing their concerns in this revised bill, many of our colleagues still insisted on standing with President Bush instead of with working American families," she said.

White House officials say Democrats are more interested in using the issue of children's health care to denigrate the president than they are in finding a solution.

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