WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Wednesday vetoed a measure to expand a popular children's health care program, launching the first in a series of major battles with Democrats over domestic spending.
The legislation would have provided an extra $35 billion over five years for the health program, which is administered by the states. Taxes on tobacco products would have been raised to pay for the increase.
The health bill enjoyed bipartisan support. The veto is likely to anger a number in Bush's own Republican Party who fear the issue will cost them votes in the congressional and presidential elections.
Supporters of the bill said it would have helped provide health coverage for some 10 million children.
Bush contended the increase would have expanded the program beyond its original intent of covering low-income children and taken a step toward government-controlled health care.
He has proposed a much smaller increase of $5 billion in the children's health program.
I think this was a good decision by Bush.
Of course Reuters does not think so. But, you already knew that.