Bush Plays Hardball to Get Remaining Bailout Funds

President plans request for $350B, threatens veto if Congress demurs
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2009 4:56 PM CST
President-elect Barack Obama's team has been in contact with the Bush White House about requesting the second half the $700 billion bailout fund.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Bush and President-Elect Obama both want the second half of the $700 billion in bailout funds released, and if Congress votes against it, whichever one is in office has the right to veto their "no" vote, the Washington Post reports. With many lawmakers opposing the measure, the two teams are working together to give the Obama team access to the money immediately upon the inauguration. 

The open question is which of the presidents will have to wield the veto—obviously the Obama folks would prefer it if Bush takes the bullet—and whether or not there are enough votes in the Senate to sustain a veto. Bush could make the request as soon as this weekend; Congress has 15 days to say no. By making the veto threat now, observers say, Bush is trying to improve the chances of Obama getting the rest of the funds quickly.