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Letters to the Editor

Bush must keep promise to veto bill

Chicago Tribune:

President Bush has threatened to veto any highway bill that arrives on his desk with a price tag above $284 billion. He wants to demonstrate that he is really, really serious about keeping a lid on federal spending.

The hope here is that he keeps his word.

But the president has never vetoed a bill, any bill, since he took office in 2001. So, up on Capitol Hill - surprise, surprise - Congress is taking this latest get-tough threat from the White House with a wink and a grin. ...

Technically, the House complied with the president's spending limit, passing a six-year highway package in March that tops out at $284 billion. But House members gave themselves wiggle room, a provision that allows members to reopen the package and raise the price tag down the road. The Senate passed a version (in May) that comes in at $295 billion. ...

The two chambers now will try to hash out the numerous differences in their two versions of the bill. Those are substantial beyond the price differential. ...

But here's the bottom line. If the president is serious about reining in deficit spending, as he claims to be, both the House and Senate versions are unacceptable. Unless the two chambers come up with a consensus that holds spending at $284 billion and doesn't employ trickery such as a re-opener provision, the president must veto it.

House right to nix soldier restriction

The Repository, Canton, Ohio:

The U.S. House of Representatives smartly rejected an effort last week by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to restrict the U.S. military's abilities to use female soldiers.

Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, wanted to restrict the military from assigning women to any new ground combat-related jobs. Democrats and Republicans both put pressure on him to back down. So did the nation's military leaders.

The U.S. military is stretched thin in fighting the war in Iraq and keeping other commitments around the world. It is not a good idea to impose more unnecessary restrictions on the options that military leaders have.