Obama: I'll veto funding for the troops

Consider this a trap well set and sprung.  Frustrated that the Senate won’t pass any budget bill while the House continues to negotiate to the brink of a government shutdown, John Boehner proposed a one-week CR to keep government open for a week and to secure defense funding through the end of the year.  A few minutes ago, the White House stated categorically that it would veto the one-week CR if it passes the Senate in an e-mail blast, underscoring in original:

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 1363, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes. As the President stated on April 5, 2011, if negotiations are making significant progress, the Administration would support a short-term, clean Continuing Resolution to allow for enactment of a final bill.

For the past several weeks, the Administration has worked diligently and in good faith to find common ground on the shared goal of cutting spending. After giving the Congress more time by signing short-term extensions into law, the President believes that we need to put politics aside and work out our differences for a bill that covers the rest of the fiscal year. This bill is a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise for funding the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and avert a disruptive Federal Government shutdown that would put the Nation’s economic recovery in jeopardy. The Administration will continue to work with the Congress to arrive at a compromise that will fund the Government for the remainder of the fiscal year in a way that does not undermine future growth and job creation and that averts a costly Government shutdown. It is critical that the Congress send a final bill to the President’s desk that provides certainty to our men and women in military uniform, their families, small businesses, homeowners, taxpayers, and all Americans.  H.R. 1363 simply delays that critical final outcome.

If presented with this bill, the President will veto it.

Really?  Will Obama really argue that he can’t abide a one-week CR so much that he’s willing to shut down the government and leave the troops without income for an indeterminate amount of time?  This statement concedes that this bill takes the troops out of the line of fire in the budget debate.  Kirsten Powers recognized the obvious, remarking on Twitter: “Can’t believe Obama fell for the “funding the troops” trick. He’ll have to change position on veto threat.”

One source on the Hill thinks that Harry Reid has a weak hand on this, not for the least of reasons that a number of Democrats are already facing tough re-election campaigns in 2012.  Do they want a shutdown fight over abortion?  Not likely.  Moreover, the source points out that the White House statement is nothing than a process argument.  The White House doesn’t offer one specific substantive point in opposition to HR1363.  This might be a big bluff, but the President may be looking for a way to rally his dispirited base.

Meanwhile, there’s hope for those about to find themselves with lots of free time.  Are you a federal worker anxious about government shutdowns? Feeling oddly ambitious lately, and perhaps slightly productive? Consult with your AFSCME or SEIU representative and see if DisplacetraTM is right for you! Laura Ingraham provides some government-shutdown comedy relief today in this mockutisement for relief from the notion that the days of whine and moroses may be ending after all:

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David Strom 5:21 PM on December 09, 2022