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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 21:03 GMT
US Congress overturns Bush veto
Democratic Senators after the vote to overturn the presidential veto
Democratic senators were joined by most of their Republican colleagues
The United States Congress has for the first time overturned President George W Bush's veto, on a bill authorising spending on water projects.

The Senate voted 79-14 to overturn the veto, after the House of Representatives voted 361-54, well over the two-thirds majority required.

The last time a veto was overridden was in 1998, under President Bill Clinton.

The bill authorises billions of dollars-worth of local projects, many of which Mr Bush says are unnecessary.

It includes funding for coastal restoration in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, improving the Florida Everglades and fisheries in the Great Lakes.

Many local projects, such as dams, sewage plants and beach restoration, are considered important to local communities and therefore to politicians' electors.

Republicans desert Bush

The vote is the first such setback for Mr Bush, after nearly seven years in the White House.

Mr Bush has vetoed five bills in the last two years, after refraining from vetoing any in his first five years in office.

His Republican allies in Congress, many of whom are up for re-election in 2008, sustained his previous vetoes, but deserted him on the water bill.

Although Democrats have held a majority in both houses since the mid-term elections of November 2006, they could not have overturned the presidential veto without the support of Republicans.

A majority of Republicans, both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives, voted in favour of the bill.

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