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White House Upgrades Defense Veto Threat (Video)

Obama won't sign the Defense spending bill until Republicans agree to spend more money on his priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No more weasel words. President Barack Obama will veto the Defense Appropriations bill unless there's a deal to raise domestic spending, Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.  

That upgrades the veto threat slightly from the usually articulated one that his senior "advisers would recommend" a veto. White House Affirms Defense Spending Veto Threat

Here's the rush CQ Roll Call transcript of today's briefing of Earnest responding to Bloomberg BNA reporter Cheryl Bolen:

"Would the commander in chief really veto the Defense Appropriations bill if the non-defense bills, if the caps aren't lifted on those?" EARNEST: "Yes. And the reason for that is a serious one. There are actually several reasons. One is that the funding mechanism that Republicans have floated is one that many leading Republicans have previously described as nothing more than a gimmick. The president does not believe that is consistent with any sort of serious approach to national security and that is a — the principal objection of the way that Republicans are currently trying to move this legislation through Congress. What also happens to be true is there are critically important national security priorities included on the so-called non-defense side of the ledger. This includes everything from funding for Homeland Security to funding for our veterans. So to suggest that essentially gutting funding on the non-defense side doesn't have significant consequences for our national security is dangerously naive. So the fact is, the president is going to — is determined to ensure that the budgets that are eventually signed into law by the president of the United States are budgets that reflect our priorities to keep the country safe and to put in place policies that are in the best interests of expanding economic opportunity for middle class families."

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