In a statement Thursday, Obama said he would veto a spending bill to defund Obamacare, but the statement made clear the president would sign a short-term bill to avoid a government shutdown as long as it does not include provisions defunding his signature health care law.
“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.J. Res. 59, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014 and for other purposes, because it advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class,” the Office of Management and Budget said in the statement.
“The Resolution would defund the Affordable Care Act, denying millions of hard-working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage.
“If the President were presented with H.J. Res. 59, he would veto the bill.”
That last sentence was underlined and was the stronger version of a veto threat rather than the typical one that his advisers “would recommend” a veto.
But the statement made clear the president would sign a short-term bill to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month as long as it does not include provisions defunding his signature health care law.
“The Administration is willing to support a short-term continuing resolution to allow critical Government functions to operate without interruption and looks forward to working with the Congress on appropriations legislation for the remainder of the fiscal year that preserves critical national priorities, protects national security, and makes investments to spur economic growth and job creation for years to come,” the administration said.
The statement did not say whether the White House would accept the $986 billion spending level in the House bill, and it was silent on the inclusion of a provision that would prioritize payments on interest on the national debt if the debt ceiling is not raised in time to stave off a default.
Obama’s veto pen is unlikely to be used on the House CR, however, because the Senate is expected to strip the defunding language when it takes it up.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.