Washington, D.C. — Efforts to pass a massive compromise federal spending bill stalled Monday as a top House Democrat threatened to abandon the measure, accusing the White House and congressional Republicans of failing to bargain in good faith.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., had been working with moderate Republicans to try to generate momentum for a catchall spending bill that split the differences between increases sought by Democrats and the strict budget submitted by President Bush in February.
But after a White House veto threat over the weekend, a frustrated Obey said he would rip up the compromise bill and devise a new one using the strict spending ceiling set by Bush - but would reach it by whacking GOP priorities and stripping the measure of billions of dollars in pet projects for lawmakers in both parties.
Obey took the step after the White House and weekend news accounts suggested Democrats were willing to trade $50 billion-$70 billion in new Iraq war funds for just a few billion in domestic programs.
He wants to break the perceived linkage, which had whipped up the liberal anti-war blogosphere.