House Republicans last month rallied behind President Bush's vow to restrain spending with a pledge of support from enough lawmakers to uphold vetoes of appropriations bills.
But some of the 147 GOP lawmakers who signed that pledge now say they won't necessarily stand behind it. It's a sign that although Republicans are rhetorically backing the president's efforts to challenge Democrats on spending, the details of the fight could prove uncomfortable for some GOP members, particularly those who face tough re-election contests next year.
"I'm boxing myself in, in a very strange way, and I have to figure it out," said Christopher Shays of Connecticut, the only House Republican from New England to survive the 2006 election. "I'm going to re-look at the letter I signed and may have to go down to the White House and say I'm not on board."
So far, the House has considered four fiscal 2008 spending bills that the president has threatened to veto over cost: Energy-Water (HR 2641), Homeland Security (HR 2638), Interior-Environment (HR 2643) and Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3043). Overall, 62 lawmakers who signed the pledge have voted for at least one of those bills.
Four House Republicans — Shays, Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland, Steven C. LaTourette of Ohio and Mike D. Rogers of Alabama — who signed the letter nonetheless have voted to pass all four bills.