CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush draws his monthlong vacation to a close confronting new economic data that suggest his budget priorities come at the expense of Social Security.
Bush was speaking Wednesday in San Antonio at the American Legion's 83rd annual convention, where aides said he wanted to reiterate his demand that Congress approve big spending increases for defense and education when lawmakers get back to work next week.
It is his last bit of business before he and first lady Laura Bush fly back to Washington on Thursday after 26 days away from the White House.
"While Congress has been on recess, the president has been focused on the priorities of the American people," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
"The budget battles of the past should not be relived. The president believes defense and education should be at the front of the line in the appropriations process and not be held hostage to partisan maneuvering."
Such maneuvering will play out over a budget landscape that shifted dramatically since Bush has been away. New economic projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office put one of Bush's central campaign promises -- not to spend Social Security reserves -- to a politically perilous test.
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