The White House on Tuesday released a two-sentence veto threat against the House Republican plan to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years, raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion and set up another $1.8 trillion in cuts by the end of this year.
“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of the amendment in the nature of a substitute to S. 627,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP). “If S. 627 is presented to the President, the President’s senior [advisers] would recommend that he veto this bill.”
The SAP was released shortly after the briefing ended.
The House released its budget plan late Monday night as a substitute amendment to S. 627, and could take up its proposal on the House floor as early as Wednesday. Several Republicans noted that in his primetime address to the nation Monday night, Obama did not say he would veto the GOP plan.
In the SAP, the administration says Obama’s advisers would recommend a veto, not that Obama would veto the bill if it were presented for his signature. That language is a bit weaker than past veto threats; for example, in the veto threat against the GOP’s “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill, the administration stated: “If the President were presented this bill for signature, he would veto it.”
Republicans took the nuanced message as a sign Obama may in fact be willing to sign the House GOP bill.
"The House plan is the only one with a pathway to the President's desk, and we appreciate his apparent willingness to sign it," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "By signing the House bill, the President could quickly end the crisis atmosphere he's created and demonstrate he's serious about cutting spending."
-- This story was updated at 4:21 p.m. to add Republican reaction.