It would be the first time the president has used his override power; but that’s only because he has made unprecedented use of so-called signing statements to ignore the parts of new laws that he doesn’t feel like obeying.
Since his inauguration in 2000, President Bush has gone out of his way to avoid an overt confrontation with Congress. He has been helped by the strong support of GOP leaders, who have made sure that he has been sent bills to his liking, and he has been willing to swallow some legislation—a campaign finance package, for instance—to avoid a political confrontation.
But Bush is unwilling to tolerate deviations from his policy restricting federal funding for stem cell research that he set out in his first prime-time television address in August 2001. If all goes as scheduled later this week, he will do something he has avoided for nearly six years: veto a bill.
“The president feels he made the right decision, and a principled decision, and he’s not going to be swayed by the fact that he may not have the votes on Capitol Hill,” said Jay Lefkowitz, a New York lawyer who helped Bush craft his position while a staff member at the White House.