White House presses Senate to approve omnibus bill

The Bush administration is pressuring the Senate to return and finish the $820 billion fiscal 2004 omnibus spending bill.

A White House official, asked Friday about the administration's push, said, "The administration feels that the omnibus budget bill should be done this year and is working with the Senate to make that happen."

But thus far Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is not budging. "The leader is not inclined to change his commitment to colleagues about the schedule, but will continue to consult with members about the president's request and, if there is to be any change, will indicate that when the Senate is in session next week," said Eric Ueland, Frist's deputy chief of staff.

The House is expected to approve the spending bill measure Monday, but objections are likely to be raised to a unanimous consent request in the Senate Tuesday, delaying enactment by more than a month. Senate Appropriations ranking member Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has already announced he will object to any unanimous consent. Despite bringing home $262 million in the omnibus -- including $82.6 million alone for upgrades to federal prisons in Beckley and Glenville -- Byrd has issued no news releases trumpeting the bill. He has not said whether he will vote against the omnibus.