WASHINGTON President Bush signed a temporary spending bill Friday to keep the government running for a week and prodded Congress to complete work on a longer-range spending package.
"It would be disappointing if members of Congress did not finish their work by the holidays," the president said in an appearance in the Rose Garden. "If they don't, they should not carry the unfinished business of 2007 into the new year.
"Instead, they should pass a one-year continuing resolution that does not include wasteful spending or higher taxes," Bush said. "And they must ensure that our troops on the front lines have the funds and resources they need to prevail."
After months of battling, Democrats announced Wednesday they would all but surrender to Bush's demand that lawmakers appropriate no more than $933 billion for annual operating expenses for Cabinet departments, whose budgets are set each year by Congress.
Democrats hoped to make an exception for a $3.7 billion increase for veterans' health care, calculating that Bush and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill would relent in the case of that politically sacrosanct program.
The temporary measure signed by Bush keeps the federal government open for another week while negotiators try to fashion an omnibus spending bill, pass it in both the House and Senate and then adjourn for the year.