President Bush's veto of a major domestic spending bill yesterday withstood a challenge by the House after it failed by just two votes to muster a two-thirds majority to override it. The $606 billion labor, health and education measure is the largest of 12 spending bills that have pit Congress and the White House against each other in a showdown over the federal budget.
The failed override is a major defeat for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Wisconsin Congressman David Obey, the chairman of the appropriations committee and architect of the bill. In comments after the vote Pelosi slammed the president's priorities. She said helping to pay for home heating oil for families this winter, one of the provisions of the bill, would cost what the nation spends in Iraq in less than two days.