Pushing offshore drilling
President Bush this week issued an executive order lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling and challenged Congress to repeal the law that bars companies from drilling in U.S. coastal waters. Both the executive and legislative prohibitions must be rescinded before any drilling can begin. Congressional Democrats called the move a political stunt, noting that even if the ban were lifted tomorrow, it would be at least 10 years before any wells started producing. The Bush administration said lifting the ban would send a positive signal to global oil markets.

Medicare bill survives veto
Congress this week overrode President Bush’s veto of a Medicare bill canceling a scheduled 11 percent cut in payments to doctors. The president objected to the bill because it reduces payments to health insurance companies in order to finance the restored payments to doctors. In a sign of the president’s waning political clout, 21 Republicans in the Senate and 153 in the House joined with Democrats in voting to override the veto.