Barack Obama plays hardball with veto threat
President Barack Obama signaled his openness to larger deficit-reduction talks with Congress on Tuesday but drew a sharp line at the immediate spending cuts proposed by the House, even suggesting that Republicans were jeopardizing the Pentagon’s ability to “meet vital military requirements.”
The thinly veiled veto threat was delivered in a formal statement of administration policy just hours after debate opened in the House on the Republican plan.
And the suggestion that Republicans risked hurting the nation’s defense amounts to an especially hardball political response designed to play on divisions in the GOP over the level of Pentagon cuts.
“The bill proposes cuts that would sharply undermine core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation and would reduce funding for the Department of Defense to a level that would leave the department without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements,” the statement read. “If the president is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the president will veto the bill.”