(AFP) – Feb 15, 2011
WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama warned Tuesday he would veto a spending bill crafted by his Republican foes because its deep cuts risked crippling a tentative economic recovery and harming national security.
"The administration strongly opposes House passage of HR 1," the White House said, warning that if the measure reaches Obama without major changes, "the president will veto the bill."
The statement from Obama's budget office came as the US House of Representatives debated the bill, which would slash some 60 billion dollars from outlays for the fiscal year that ends October 1.
Republicans have portrayed the measure as fulfilling a 2010 campaign pledge and putting the United States on the road to deflating its ballooning deficit and shrinking its swollen national debt, which party leaders have called the greatest threat to US national security.
But Democrats have warned that its deep cuts risk derailing the fragile US recovery, and warned that vast cuts in foreign aid and diplomatic operations worldwide will shrink US influence and could roll back gains in Iraq.
The White House said the cuts "would sharply undermine core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation" and leave the Pentagon "without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements."
Republicans can likely drive the measure to passage in the House, but it is virtually sure to face major changes in the Democratic-led Senate, setting up a potential impasse before a current stopgap funding measure expires March 4.
Top Republicans have said they do not want to see the US government shut down but insisted on deep spending cuts.
The White House said it "looks forward to working with the Congress to refine the legislation to allow critical government functions to operate without interruption for the remainder of the fiscal year under way."
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