Bush: No troop funds unless Yucca money hiked

George Bush last week threatened to veto funding for U.S. troops unless Congress provides more money for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nye County.

In a Sept. 9 statement of administration policy, Bush told Congress that its expected $50 million cut in the Yucca budget is unacceptable to him: “This reduction would severely hinder progress on seeking authorization from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct the nation’s first repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain.”

Republicans have become known for tying unpopular projects that can’t pass on their own merits to troop funding, knowing that the Democrats won’t fight back. In 2005, GOP members of Congress attached the “Real ID” amendment requiring a federal standard for personal identification to a troop funding bill. Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada caved in, saying he didn’t want to get caught on the wrong side of troop funding.