Josh Bolten’s record suggests he will not be a strong enough voice to stand up to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove, or Donald Rumsfeld. Rove has said Bolten is “very soft-spoken but very clear thinking. … I love him in an entirely appropriate way.”
In 2004, Bolten set a funding cap of $256 billion for the transportation bill, and he threatened a veto if Congress went over the cap. When Congress moved forward with a transportation bill in 2005, Bolten raised the cap to $283.9 billion. But when Congress finally passed a $286.5 billion bill, Bolten could not convince Bush to follow through and veto the pork-laden bill.
BOLTEN’S FIRST VETO THREAT:
The Administration’s proposed authorization level of $256 billion over six years is consistent with the three principles listed above. We support a responsible six-year bill and support many of the provisions contained in this legislation. However, we oppose S. 1072 and the pending substitute because their spending levels are too high and they violate these principles discussed above. Accordingly, if legislation that violates these principles (such as this legislation, which authorizes $318 billion) were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. [Statement of Administration Policy, 2/11/04]
BOLTEN’S SECOND VETO THREAT:
Under the final version of the surface transportation bill, total obligation limitations for surface-transportation programs (combined with contract authority that is exempt from obligation limitations and general fund appropriations for public transportation) must not exceed $283.9 billion over the period 2004 through 2009. “¦ Should the obligation or net authorization levels that would result from the final bill exceed these limits, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill. [Statment of Administration Policy, 4/26/05]
CONGRESS: Provided $286.4 billion in the transportation bill.
RESULT: No Veto