How much money Obama gets to implement his agenda will come down to whether the president will finally use his veto power to bring House Republicans to heel.
The real fight in Congress in September isn’t over Obamacare. It’s about the money.
After all, the money is crucial to how much of President Barack Obama’s tattered agenda will be implemented in his second term. And how much money he gets may come down to whether the president will finally use his veto power to bring House Republicans to heel.
Unlike in 2011, when Republicans successfully held a critical debt limit increase hostage to extract more than $2 trillion in spending cuts, Obama no longer has to worry about a default crisis imperiling his re-election. His charm offensive with Senate Republicans aimed at reaching a budget deal has been a dud so far. He’s signed little of consequence since being sworn in for a second term in January.
But one bill Congress will have to send him this fall is the measure keeping the government open past Sept. 30.
His signature — or veto — on that bill is the biggest piece of legislative leverage he has left.
Boehner told lawmakers on Aug. 22 that he plans to pass a stopgap continuing resolution that would keep in place the sequester spending cuts that have become a tourniquet on Obama’s second-term ambitions.
Will Obama cave yet again — as he did in March when he signed a bill that allowed the spending cuts to continue unabated?
Or will he use a veto threat to demand funding for his priorities?
The White House won’t say and, by all public accounts, the president hasn’t decided yet what to do. But all those grand visions and soaring speeches about investing in his priorities won’t amount to much if he can’t get Congress to cough up the cash.
Boehner doesn’t think Obama can credibly risk a shutdown aimed at forcing Congress to spend more money.
“The American people won’t stand for it, and we’re not going to be swayed by it,” he told his conference.
“The president’s desperation to rid himself of sequestration is apparent, but any effort — or even threat — to shut down the government over it will surely backfire,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. “Sequestration is bad policy, but after all his blown predictions, the president has very little credibility on the issue.”
On January 3, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., raises her right hand as her son Henry messes up her hair while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., delivers the ceremonial swearing-in in the Old Senate Chamber. Gillibrand's other son Theodore, lower right, looks on.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.