Obama Increasingly Aggressive With Veto Threats

Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 12:39 PM

By Lisa Barron

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After vetoing just two bills during his entire first term in office, President Barack Obama has become more aggressive, threatening to veto at least four bills in the last two weeks.

With House Republican leaders pushing their rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law which would roll back federal control over schools receiving government funds, the White House warned on Wednesday that it would veto the bill if it reaches Obama's desk, saying it "would represent a significant step backwards in the effort to help our nation's children and their families prepare for their futures."

A Senate panel has already passed a version of the bill, but a vote of all senators has not yet been scheduled.

A day earlier, on Tuesday, the president said he would veto a House bill to legally delay the employer mandate under Obamacare, even though his administration has already announced a delay of the provision until 2015.

The House defied this veto threat, easily passing the bill on Wednesday, along with a companion bill to extend a similar grace period to virtually all Americans who will be required to obtain coverage on January 1, 2014.

Last week, the White House responded to a new farm bill posted by House Republicans, threatening to veto it because food stamp funding was stripped from the measure.

On July 10, the House Rules Committee held a hearing on the latest version of the farm bill, after the initial version failed to pass the House, and posted it later that night.

In response, the White House issued a statement saying "because the 608-page bill was made available only this evening, the administration has had inadequate time to fully review the text of the bill. It is apparent, though, that the bill does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms and does not invest in renewable energy, an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country."

In addition, the White House Office of Management and Budget on July 8 issued a statement saying Obama's advisers would "recommend" that he veto the House Republicans' Energy Department spending bill.

The statement condemned an array of cuts in the Energy Department bill, including its decreases for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

After that warning, Dan Holler of the conservative Heritage Action told The Hill, “The veto threat comes from a position of weakness. President Obama’s leverage on appropriations and the sequester is minimal because he was unable to scare the public earlier this year."

Both houses of Congress need a two-thirds majority vote to override a presidential veto and allow legislation to become law without his signature.

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