The Clarion-Ledger, 5/22/8

A spending bill containing nearly $9 billion for Mississippi and Louisiana to recover from Hurricane Katrina has run into White House opposition because of its price tag.

The $194 billion bill, which the Senate began debating this week, would pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also contains about $28 billion in domestic spending, including $5.8 billion for New Orleans’ levees, $350 million for Gulf Coast hospitals affected by Katrina, and millions more to help recover from the storm.

The bill also contains a huge expansion of veterans benefits and would exceed President Bush’s request for war funding. He has threatened to veto the measure. Bush opposes the benefits expansion and most of the domestic spending in the bill, including much of the Katrina funding.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is seeking support from Republican lawmakers concerned by the bill’s restrictions on how the Iraq war is waged. GOP senators also say Democrats crafted the bill without enough input from Republican members.