News

Republicans ignore Obama’s veto threat on spending bill

Republicans ignore Obama’s veto threat on spending bill

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks to reporters about the deadline to fund the government and the fight among House Republicans, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. House Republicans vowed Wednesday to pass legislation that would prevent a partial government shutdown and avoid a default while simultaneously canceling out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, inaugurating a new round of political brinkmanship as critical deadlines approach. Photo: Reuters/AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday plowed ahead with a bill to gut President Barack Obama’s healthcare law while temporarily funding other government programs, ignoring a warning from the White House that the measure would be vetoed.

The bill, which would keep the government running through December 15 and avert shutdowns with the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, faced its first test vote in the House on Thursday with passage of the measure expected on Friday.

“We’ll deliver a big victory in the House tomorrow,” a confident House Speaker John Boehner told reporters.

The administration wasted no time in formally announcing that it would not allow rebellious House Republicans to destroy the “Obamacare” healthcare law by denying funds.

In a terse statement, the White House said the House bill would be vetoed “because it advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class.” The statement went on to say that “millions of hard-working middle class families” would be denied affordable health coverage.

This is the latest round in a series of battles Obama faces with Congress over the next few months in what has become an unending standoff over running Washington’s most basic operations, from the FBI and national parks to education and military programs.

And the December 15 cut-off date for the funding measure guarantees yet another struggle around Christmas time.

Besides the spending bill, Congress and the White House have to either agree in October or early November on a measure to increase U.S. borrowing authority or plunge the nation into a first-ever credit default.

In 2011, as Republicans and Democrats fought over these two same issues, U.S. financial markets swooned because of all the uncertainty created by Washington’s inability to work together.

Between July 7 and August 9 of that year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average blue-chip stocks plummeted 2,150 points, or 16.9 percent.

‘Stealth debt limit’ hike

The Republican bill is expected to attract no Democratic support and even some conservative opposition.

For example, Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky told Reuters that he planned to vote against the measure because “it’s a stealth debt limit increase.”

Massie was referring to a provision of the bill that would instruct the Treasury Department to pay bondholders and Social Security retirement benefits even if Congress fails to increase the government’s $16.7 trillion borrowing cap that will soon be breached.

Assuming the House passes the Republican-backed bill to defund Obamacare and provide temporary government funds, it will be significantly altered by the Democratic Senate next week.

Democrats in that chamber plan to delete the House’s Obamacare provision and send the temporary spending bill back to the House for passage before the September 30 deadline when the current fiscal year ends.

Senate Democrats believe that more than a dozen Republicans in that chamber could back them since they are on record opposing linking Obamacare to keeping the government open. Some of those Republicans have described their House colleagues’ ploy as “foolish,” a “silly effort” and “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

If the Senate kills the Obamacare defunding proposal and sends the House a basic temporary spending bill, Boehner and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will then each face difficult decisions.

Since many House Republicans are expected to vote against final passage of the stripped-down measure, Boehner might have to decide whether to rely on significant Democratic support to win passage, a politically difficult move.

For Pelosi, the question will be whether to throw her weight behind a bill that continues deep, across-the-board spending cuts that Democrats want to end.

Many inside and outside of Congress are guessing that both leaders will hold their noses, keeping in mind that the alternative, an October 1 government shutdown, is not an option.

Recent Headlines

54 mins ago in Local

Building the Future at SDSU

Fresh
SDSU Swine Unit Ground Breaking

The physical outline of the campus at South Dakota State University has changed quite a bit in the last few years.

58 mins ago in Local

SD School Districts Working with New Funding Formula

Fresh
teacher1

Schools across South Dakota are adapting to a new funding formula passed by this year’s legislature.

16 hours ago in Local

Fortenberry Gives a Lukewarm Endorsement

Trump SC 102815

A lukewarm endorsement at best as Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry reacts to the swift change of events

16 hours ago in Local

“Gun” Cell Phone Cases Banned in Minnesota

The Minnesota Senate unanimously passed a bill banning sale or possession of cell phone cases that look like guns

17 hours ago in Local

Top Leaders in the Iowa Legislature Reject the “anti-establishment” Fervor

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Crosby High School, in Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S., April 23, 2016.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The top two leaders in the Iowa legislature reject the idea the "anti-establishment" fervor among the nation's voters this year will trickle down and doom incumbents like them running for reelection to the Iowa House and Senate