Hours After Saying Come-Let-Us-Reason-Together, President Obama Issues Veto Threat

By Kristina

Feb 15, 2011 4:40pm

President Obama issued a veto threat Tuesday afternoon against the House GOP “continuing resolution” that would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, saying the cuts in the bill would “undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world” as well as 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.”

Democrats in Congress criticize the GOP cuts, which they say would kick more than 200,000 children out of Head Start, cut $800 per student in the maximum Pell Grant award, eliminate $1.4 billion in funding for science and energy research, and cut $2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects, among other changes.

Earlier in the day, at a press conference, ABC News asked the president about whether he was willing to go along with some House GOP attempts to reduce spending.

Interestingly he didn’t issue the veto threat – though he could have. The Republican resolution was introduced Friday night. It seems likely that President Obama didn’t want to be on camera issuing a threat to a bill that would attempt to cut spending, preferring instead to seem bipartisan and very ‘come-let-us-reason-together.’

President Obama said it was his “goal is to work with the Republicans both on the continuing resolution… I think it is important to make sure that we don't try to make a series of symbolic cuts this year that could endanger the recovery….If the steps that we take then prompt thousands of layoffs in state or local government; or core vital functions of government aren't performed properly, well, that could also have a dampening impact on our recovery as well.”

Defense Secretary Bob Gates “has already testified,” the president said, that “even operating under the current continuing resolution is putting significant strains on our ability to make sure our troops have what they need to perform their missions in Afghanistan. Further slashes would impair our ability to meet our mission.  And so, you know, we've got to be careful. Again, let's use a scalpel. Let's not use a machete.”

-Jake Tapper

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