Tags: Earnest | budget | spending | funding

White House Reacts to Budget Deal

By    |   Friday, 12 Dec 2014 08:10 AM

As discussed last week, Congress and the White House have been negotiating a budget deal to keep the government running past the expiration of the current deal on Dec. 11, and to avoid anyone having to take the blame for another government shutdown.

Thursday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest addressed this and other issues in his daily briefing. It offered an opportunity to see what the press thinks of the deal and how it is being spun by the parties involved. Last week Earnest presented the administration as open to discussion and not inclined to make negotiations more difficult by interposing preemptive veto threats. At the time of this briefing the White House was anticipating Congress completing action on a package to which it would have to respond.

As Earnest assumed the podium he quipped that it was such a quiet day at the White House that he has no opening remarks, and he proceeded directly to entertaining questions from reporters. However, it turned out that was a feint, and he responded to the first question by announcing that the White House has a statement about the circumstance that he would proceed to summarize.

This gist was that the administration has expressed concerns about headwinds the economy faces and the importance of Congress "acting responsibly" on legislation to keep the government funded for a full year and avoid the threat of a government shutdown. He then declared that for this reason the president "supports the compromise proposal and would sign it if it arrives at his desk."

Earnest then proceeded to list the elements of the compromise that the White House supports, in three categories: 1) responding to urgent administration requests for funding of national security-related items regarding Ebola ($5.4 billion) and degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL; 2) a range of domestic policy priorities — early childhood education ($750 million) funding the CFTC and SEC, refraining to gut the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and funding efforts to fight climate change, including renewable energy; 3) implementing progress for "the Affordable Care Act and executive actions on immigration. The White House expects to receive the package in the next few days.

Asked about rumbles of opposition from Democrats, he called on Democrats to "vote their conscience." He noted that the influence of Democrats is reduced as a result of the election results. He cited amendments on removing the provision from Dodd-Frank requiring banks to "push out" risky swaps trading and regarding regulation of campaign finance. He noted that the bill is 1,500 pages long and does include some of what he called "ideological riders."

Related to one of those riders, a reporter asked Earnest to respond to the statement by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., that the budget bill "represents the worst of government of the rich and powerful." Earnest responded that the White House differs with Warren because the bill contains double-digit funding increases for the SEC and CFTC, without any riders that would have gutted the CFPB that Warren has championed.

In wrapping up the briefing, Earnest took a question from a reporter about the announcement by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that she will not be working on behalf of the bill. Earnest responded by repeating the president's high regard for Pelosi and the hope that members will vote their consciences.

It is noteworthy that the press spent at least as much time on the controversy surrounding the CIA's use of torture as an interrogation technique as it did on the pending budget bill. Earnest reiterated the president's support for CIA Director John Brennan, and he stated that the national security leadership is aware that the president opposes the use of torture, and he appreciates the service of Brennan and other leaders in the field of intelligence and national security.

(Archived video can be found here.)

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Robert-Feinberg
As discussed last week, Congress and the White House have been negotiating a budget deal to keep the government running past the expiration of the current deal on Dec. 11, and to avoid anyone having to take the blame for another government shutdown.
Earnest, budget, spending, funding
643
2014-10-12
Friday, 12 Dec 2014 08:10 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

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