Obama threatens to veto House Republican spending measure

The Obama administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the House GOP's measure funding the federal government. 

In a statement of administration policy, the Office of Management and Budget said cuts included in the Republican continuing resolution would hamstring the U.S. economy and compromise national security.

"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," the statement said. 

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The White House said the cuts in the GOP plan "will undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world."

The statement said the GOP proposal goes too far and "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 House GOP measure would cut this year's spending by $61 billion, though conservative Republicans want to make further cuts. 

Obama, at a press conference Tuesday, said lawmakers should refrain from threatening a government shutdown, and the statement hinted that Obama is still hopeful that can be avoided.

"The administration looks forward to working with the Congress to refine the legislation to allow critical government functions to operate without interruption for the remainder of the fiscal year underway," the statement said.

The administration's veto threat comes as the Republican House begins debate on the continuing resolution this afternoon. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has pledged an "open" debate, meaning that lawmakers could add any range of amendment to the legislation, cutting spending even further. 

The statement sets up the possibility for a showdown between the administration and Democrats in the Senate with the GOP-held House over the measure. Funding for the government's day-to-day operations runs out on March 4, and without some sort of short-term fix, the federal government would risk shutting down. The chairman of the House Budget Committee said Tuesday morning the government would pass a short-term CR rather than risking a shutdown.


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