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White House Threatens to Veto GOP Sequester Bill

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Obama, via a Statement of Administration Policy, said it opposes the Senate GOP’s bill.

The White House threatened to veto the Senate GOP’s bill aimed at giving the president flexibility to target spending cuts — ripping the idea for protecting corporate tax exemptions.

“The Administration strongly opposes S. 16, which would protect tax loopholes for the wealthy and congressional pork barrel projects and would lock in severe cuts that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs and slash vital services for children, seniors, and our troops and military families,” the administration said in a Statement of Administration Policy.

The White House warned that “no amount of flexibility can avoid the fact that middle class families will bear the brunt of the cuts required by this bill.”

At his daily briefing with reporters, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the GOP sequester flexibility bill “the worst of all worlds. ... It makes the problem worse.”

The veto threat was of the weaker senior-advisers-recommend variety, rather than the stronger “would veto” language. But it is likely moot, as the bill is certain to fail on the Senate floor.

Still, the threat appears to be a shot across the bow to Republicans ahead of Friday’s White House meeting between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders — the same day the sequestration must begin.

The White House argues the GOP bill would explicitly protect pork barrel spending while preserving all tax expenditures.

The administration warns that Congress needs to avert the sequester with a balanced plan and “stop endangering the Nation’s economic recovery.”

Republicans, including one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., said that sequestration is going to go into effect because no one has the votes to prevent it. But, he said, it makes sense to give agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration the ability to target cuts so that air traffic controllers are not affected.

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