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Bush Says He Will Veto 'Excessive Spending'

President Bush says opposition legislators want to raise taxes on Americans, undermining what he says is his pro-growth economic policy. Democrats say they want to help boost economic growth by lowering energy costs. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

President Bush says his record tax cuts have produced record tax revenues by putting more Americans to work and thereby reducing the nation's budget deficit. But in his weekly radio address, the president warned that proposed spending by opposition Democrats threatens his plans to balance the budget by 2012.

"The Democrats in Congress are trying to take us in a different direction," said Mr. Bush. "They've passed a budget that would mean higher taxes for American families and job creators, ignore the need for entitlement reform, and pile on hundreds of billions of dollars in new government spending over the next five years. This tax-and-spend approach puts our economic growth and deficit reduction at risk."

The president said he will veto excessive spending. The opposition-led House of Representatives Friday passed a $37 billion budget for the Department of Homeland Security, exceeding the president's request by more than $2 billion.

If President Bush carries out his threat to veto the measure, it is unlikely the Democrats would be able to get the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto, because enough Republicans voted against it to sustain the veto.

But Mr. Bush is not vetoing all spending that is above his budget. He accepted $17 billion more in the Iraq war funding bill than he requested. Democrats have added $4 billion to his request for veterans programs, and Republicans are not likely to support challenging that spending at a time of war.

In the Democratic radio address, Senator Maria Cantwell called on President Bush to lobby members of his own party to back an energy bill aimed at reducing America's dependence on foreign oil and lowering gas prices.

"By improving energy efficiency, our bill can save Americans billions of dollars every year," she said. "Democrats also plan to eliminate billions of dollars in tax breaks to big oil interests and invest them instead in clean, renewable energy. Combined with our goal to produce at least 15 percent of our energy from alternative sources, we can make huge strides in reducing our dependence on fossil fuel."

President Bush backs greater investments in alternative fuels and says he wants to cut U.S. petroleum use 20 percent in the next 10 years. America currently imports about 60 percent of its oil.