GOP: Obama veto threat on spending is empty

On Tuesday, the White House threatened to veto the 2014 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill and the Homeland Security bill, both of which are on the House floor this week.

The Office of Management and Budget said Obama would veto any bills based on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) spending level. Failure to enact the spending bills or pass a stopgap measure would shutdown the federal government Oct. 1. 

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The GOP has seen Obama’s threats before. He made them against all the 2013 spending bills produced in the House, including the veterans bill,  but ultimately accepted the $80 billion sequestration cut when it came in March 1.

“The president’s veto document is an empty threat,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said.

“When these appropriations bills reach his desk, he has the option to sign or not sign. Until that time, we will move forward with our bills under the funding levels given to us by the law and the budget resolution, and do our duty to prioritize and fund programs as we see fit,” he added.

An aide said that it would be politically impossible for Obama not to fund veterans programs or homeland security come the fall.

Since the two bills themselves do cut deeply compared to the current sequester level, it is at least possible that the Senate would pass them.

The House on Tuesday released an agriculture spending bill without cuts below the sequester level and a defense title that increases spending by $5 billion. 

They too could pass the Senate on their own terms, if not for the fact that increased defense spending means domestic agency budgets need to be cut below the sequester level. 

The proposed House Labor, Health appropriations bill which is supposed to represent a cut of 18 percent below the sequester level, would have no chance of Senate passage.