/ 7 April 2011

Obama threatens to veto Republican spending Bill

United States President Barack Obama threatened to veto a short-term spending Bill put forward by Republicans to avoid a government shutdown on Friday amid a row over spending cuts and country’s budget deficit.

Obama said he was committed to working with Republicans to agree on spending cuts designed to peg back the soaring budget deficit, but that another in a succession of short-term spending plans would only delay a final deal.

“It is critical that the Congress send a final Bill to the president’s desk that provides certainty to our men and women in military uniform, their families, small businesses, homeowners, taxpayers, and all Americans,” the Office of Management and Budget said.

The Republican Bill “simply delays that critical final outcome,” it said, in the latest political manoeuvring ahead of the deadline, at midnight on Friday, to reach a deal and avert a government shutdown.

“If presented with this Bill, the president will veto it.”

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, just before heading into talks with Obama on the budget at the White House, condemned the veto threat, complaining the president had not cited examples of policies contained in the legislation that he rejects.

“The Bill the House is considering today would fund our troops through September in the face of three conflicts and keep the government from shutting down tomorrow,” Boehner said.

Boehner vowed to pass the Bill in the House on Friday and send it to the Senate, where Democrats would risk being portrayed as unsympathetic to US soldiers in the field if they voted against it.

“The president and Democratic leaders have all committed to working with Republicans to cut spending. A Bill that falls short of that commitment cannot pass the House.”

The House bill would cut some $12-billion in government outlays and fund the US military to October 1.

The measure, however, was seen as unlikely ever to pass the Senate.

The top Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid called the Bill “a non-starter” and “a fantasy” and accused Republicans of holding up a deal on funding the government to satisfy the “ideology” of their core voters on abortion and the environment.