AP: ‘Sense of History Eludes Bush in Radio Attack on Democrats’

On Sunday, America's leading wire service published an article that more closely resembled a Democrat talking points memo than anything I've seen in months.

In fact, it could have been written by the Democrat that did the response to President Bush's radio address on Saturday.

In a piece amazingly entitled "Sense of History Eludes Bush in Radio Attack on Democrats," after quoting some of the President's words concerning his desire that Congress pass a veterans spending bill before the Thanksgiving break, the Associated Press editorialized (h/t NBer saw the light, emphasis added throughout):

Bush's dig at Democrats didn't tell the whole story.

Congress has never delivered to Bush a veterans affairs spending bill by Veterans Day, even when Capitol Hill was run by Republicans. And even veterans' groups have been reluctant to criticize this year's Congress for the delay, because they are thankful for large budget increases already engineered by Democrats since they assumed the majority in January. They added $3.4 billion to the veterans' budget in February and $1.8 billion in May.

Amazing, wouldn't you agree? This could have been on Democratic National Committee letterhead rather than in a supposed news article.

On Veterans Day, no less.

After all, the President didn't say in his radio address that it was customary for such bills to be approved by Veterans Day. He just asked that this one would be:

Some of the Commission's recommendations require legislative action, such as updating the disability system to fully meet the needs of our wounded warriors. So my Administration has sent Congress a bill that would enact all the legislative steps recommended by the Commission. This is a good bill, our wounded warriors and their families are counting on it, and I urge Democrats and Republicans to come together to pass it as quickly as possible.

Congress can also meet its responsibility to our veterans by passing a clean Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. Unfortunately, Congressional leaders let the fiscal year end without passing this bill they know our veterans need. So I urged Congress to pass this bill by Veterans Day - and they still have failed to send me this vital legislation. The time to act is running out. There are now just four days left on the legislative calendar before Congress leaves town for their Thanksgiving break. The best way members of Congress can give thanks to our veterans is to send me a clean bill that I can sign into law.

You see anything in that text about it being customary for such spending to be approved by Veterans Day? No.

Instead, the President had asked that it should be, and was disappointed that it wasn't. Does that represent either an attack on Democrats, or an eluding of history?

Hardly.Yet, some history that the AP missed was what has happened to veterans spending since Bush took office in 2001.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, Veterans Affairs received $45 billion under former President Clinton's final budget as compared to $72 billion in fiscal 2007's which was created prior to the Democrat Congressional takeover. That's a 60 percent increase in six years.

By contrast, under Clinton, the VA budget went from $35 billion in FY 1993 to $45 billion in FY 2001, a 29 percent increase in eight years.

In fact, despite erroneous media assertions to the contrary, VA spending on both a real and percentage basis has increased more under President Bush than under any other president since Richard M. Nixon.

As such, it appears that history was actually eluding the AP in its Democrat talking points memo which disgracefully continued:

Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania touted the party's commitment to veterans.

"Democrats in Congress are working together with the president to see that veterans aging and young and their families receive the benefits they need and deserve," he said, delivering the weekly radio address for his party.

The veterans bill has gotten caught up in a larger battle between the White House and Congress over Democratic efforts to add about $23 billion for domestic programs to Bush's $933 billion proposal for all agency budgets passed by Congress each year.

Democrats had sought to combine the veterans spending measure with ones for education, health and job training programs to force passage of increases for the other programs. But Bush has insisted that the veterans money come to him in a stand-alone bill, and the veterans portion was stripped from the larger legislation this week, leaving that funding in limbo.

In the future, don't you think it would make more sense for the AP to just let the Democrat giving the response to Bush's radio address write its article about said address?

Associated Press
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