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Quick Veto

The House is set to vote to easily override President Bush’s veto of the Water Resources Development Act on Tuesday, with the Senate expected to quickly follow suit. [IMGCAP(1)]

The override would be the first of Bush’s presidency; earlier attempts to override Bush’s vetoes of stem-cell research, children’s health insurance and a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq failed.

Bush objected to the size of the $23 billion authorizing measure, but Democrats and Republicans defended the projects across the country as critical investments to protect coasts, invest in sensitive environmental areas like the Florida Everglades and promote economic development. The bill passed the House 381-40 and the Senate 81-12.

Democrats will seek to use the override as fodder in their spending showdown on appropriations bills with Bush, charging that he is out of touch and chintzy in his investments in America even as he focuses hundreds of billions on the war in Iraq.

Legal Fees. Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) continues to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but his participation is not cheap.

According to records filed with the Clerk of the House last week, Feeney’s legal defense fund has paid just shy of $28,000 to a legal consulting firm called FTI Consulting.

Feeney took an Abramoff-funded golf junket to Scotland in 2003, but he reported to the House that the trip had been paid for by a legitimate nonprofit. Feeney has since repaid the U.S. Treasury for the cost of the trip, said that he did not know the source of the funding for the trip and provided documents to the Justice Department as part of its investigation of Abramoff’s activities.

Feeney spokeswoman Pepper Pennington said the Congressman “has voluntarily turned over retained documents and files” to DOJ and has “incurred expenses in the process.”

FTI Consulting specializes in crisis management, “forensic accounting” and other assistance to parties in litigation or regulatory disputes.

From July 1 to Sept. 30, Feeney raised $12,600 for his legal defense fund, including $5,000 from Longhorn PAC, the leadership PAC of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

— Steven T. Dennis and Paul Singer

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