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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | February 07, 2003

Bush's "Bait and Switch" New Initiatives

Remember the glowing press accounts of Bush's new initiatives he touted in his SOTU? How his commitment to hydrogen fuel cell powered cars, and his AIDS funding for Africa were truly laudable measures?

Keeping with the "bait and switch" approach to policy development that this Administration loves (the only part of their policy where they are clear and consistent is war), Dana Milbank in the Washington Post reports what some of us suspected: some of these initiatives, in terms of new money, were a sham.

Bush's actual proposals for new, first-year funding for African AIDS assistance, homeland security first responder resources, mentoring, and hydrogen fuel cell development fell short of his rhetoric of the SOTU, according to Milbank. In some cases, money has been reduced elsewhere, and in other cases, the amount of money for which the Administration is taking credit for, most notably on homeland security first responder resources, is actually lower that what was provided in the last Clinton budget.

In another development which continues a remarkable trend lately of half-baked and unvetted policy proposals from this White House, Mr. Bush's own House leadership is calling his proposals to create new tax-free savings accounts dead on arrival:

"A key element of President Bush's ambitious tax-cutting agenda -- his proposal to create new tax-free savings accounts -- has virtually no chance of passing and should be replaced with a bipartisan proposal to expand existing retirement programs, House Republican leaders have told the White House.

'I just don't think we can realistically go as far as the president proposes,' Rep. Rob Portman (Ohio), chairman of the GOP leadership team and a close Bush ally, said yesterday.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) agrees with Portman, said a source close to the speaker. 'It hasn't gained any currency at all,' the source said of the president's savings account plan."

Are the deficit figures finally leading some in the GOP happy family to think of parting ways with Rove's plan and DeLay's rhetoric of jacking the tax cuts up even further to make Bush's plan look tame by comparison?


Posted February 07, 2003 08:43 AM | Comments (15)


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