White House threatens to veto EPA, Interior spending bill

White House threatens to veto EPA, Interior spending bill
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The Obama administration is threatening to veto a 2017 spending bill for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department.

The House is set to consider a $32.1 billion bill for the two departments and other programs this week. The legislation would cut spending for the departments by $64 million from current spending levels and is $1 billion less than what President Obama requested in his budget.

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The bill also contains policy riders designed to block administration rules on water, power plant emissions and coal mining.

The White House, in a veto warning issued Monday night, said it objects to the spending levels and riders within the bill.

“The bill underfunds core Department of the Interior (DOI) programs as well as the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) operating budget, which supports nationwide protection of human health, and vital air, water and land resources,” the Office of Management and Budget said in its statement.

The riders “threaten to undermine the most basic protections for America's unique natural treasures and the people and wildlife that rely on them, as well as the ability of States and communities to address climate change and protect a resource that is essential to America's health—clean water.”

The Republicans’ bill looks to cut regulatory spending at the EPA and blocks the agency’s Clean Water and Clean Power Plan rules, both major administration and Democratic priorities. The spending cuts, though, are not as deep as those Republicans have sought in the past.

The House will consider the bill this week after years of failing to clear the legislation. The last time the House passed the EPA and Interior spending bill was 2009; last year’s didn’t even make it to a vote amid a debate over Confederate flag amendments offered to it.