Posted: 7:44 pm Wednesday, January 7th, 2015
By Jamie Dupree
It did not take long for President Obama to find himself at odds with the new Republican Congress, as after just two days of work in the House and Senate, the White House has already officially threatened to veto several measures pressed by the GOP.
The first veto threat was issued on Tuesday as the new Congress convened, targeting a bill that would force the start of construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The second veto threat – released on Wednesday – was aimed at a bill that would change the definition of a full work week under the Obama health law, which Republicans argue have forced larger employers to cut hours for many Americans.
That bill is expected to be approved by the House on Thursday, just the start of a number of legislative actions by the GOP against the signature legislative achievement of the President.
The rush to get that measure and others to the President’s desk left Democrats in Congress grumbling, as they accused the GOP of trying to set up repeated veto confrontations with Mr. Obama.
“What an incredible waste of time and energy,” complained Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).
But Republicans see it much differently; they argue that after four years of watching the Senate stop a variety of House bills, the President should expect a number of items to hit his desk which he may not like.
“It will be interesting to see if he will use his pen to veto something,” said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL).
In his almost six years in office, President Obama has only vetoed two bills – that could well change in the months ahead.
Terrorism risk bill advances in House
While much of the focus in coming months will be on conflict between the President and Republicans, it looks like the two parties will quickly move to approve a Terrorism Risk insurance bill that ran aground late in 2014.
With little debate, the House voted 416 to 5 to approve the plan, which had been blocked by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) in December.
But with Coburn no longer in the Senate, both parties expect they can get this bill swiftly through the Congress and down to the President’s desk for his approval.
Republicans had also hoped to gain approval in the House for a bill that makes a series of changes in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law – but it didn’t get the needed two-thirds majority for expedited approval.
The House is expected to vote on the bill again next week, and the White House told reporters – that measure will also face a veto if it gets through the Congress.
It could be one of many with the new dynamic of a Congress that’s fully controlled by the GOP.