WASHINGTON — PRESIDENT Bush, as expected, vetoed the family-leave bill Tuesday. On the same day, Congress failed to override his July veto of the motor-voter registration bill, giving Mr. Bush a presidential record of 31 straight veto victories. But Tuesday's definitive passage of a cable-regulation bill has set up what may be the first veto victory for Congress since Bush's election.
The family-leave bill would have required businesses with more than 50 workers to provide up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave for workers who have a new child or must care for an ill family member.
But Bush contended the bill amounted to a heavy-handed new government mandate that would have hurt businesses and cost jobs.
He proposed an alternative approach using tax credits to entice businesses with 500 or fewer workers to provide family and medical leave, although he made no mention of how he would pay for the new benefit.
The veto drew harsh condemnation from Democratic challenger Gov. Bill Clinton, who called it a betrayal of the very "family values" Republicans have embraced as a campaign theme.
The family-leave bill veto is Bush's 32nd since taking office. An override vote in Congress is expected in October.
Congress fell just short of overriding Bush's 31st veto - the July veto of the motor-voter registration bill which would have allowed voters to register when they apply for drivers' licenses or government benefits.
The president's 31 veto victories surpass Lyndon Johnson's unbroken string of 30 successful vetoes from late 1963 to 1968.
But the sizable margins by which both the House and Senate passed the cable-rates regulation bill led analysts to predict that Congress will muster the two-thirds vote needed to override the expected presidential veto.