Bush Chides Congress Over Taxes, War Funding

President Bush chastised Congress on Monday, saying lawmakers had little to show for 2007, urging quick approval of funds for the war on terror and repeal of the alternative minimum tax.

Speaking briefly in the White House Rose Garden, the president accused the House and Senate of foot-dragging on several key issues.

"The end of 2007 is approaching fast, and the new Congress has little to show for it," he told reporters, putting special emphasis on the failure to pass an acceptable funding bill for the war on terror.

"Some in Congress are withholding this funding because they want to substitute their judgment for that of our military commanders," he said.

Bush also called for making permanent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which dictates when the government must obtain court permission to conduct electronic eavesdropping.

He said the bill "closed critical intelligence gaps" about alleged terror plots.

Congress also must pass a temporary fix to the AMT to prevent 20 million taxpayers from getting hit with tax increases averaging $2,000. House Democrats insist on paying for the AMT fix with revenue increases elsewhere. Republicans have promised to block that approach in the Senate. The common wisdom holds that any AMT fix will ultimately add to the deficit.

"If Congress fails to act, as many as 25 million Americans would be subject to AMT," the president said.

Democrats announced agreement Friday to move ahead with energy legislation that would raise automobile fuel economy standards, increase the use of ethanol as a motor fuel, and boost the use of alternative fuels such as wind and solar technology, by electric utilities. If the bill passes and Bush signs it, the energy reforms would join a slender roster of Democratic accomplishments, including a minimum wage increase and increases in college aid.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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