WH Statement Says Obama Would Veto FY11 Budget That ‘Undermines Critical Priorities Or National Security’

The Office of Management and Budget released a statement (.pdf) on Tuesday warning that President Barack Obama would “veto the continuing resolution [CR] funding bill now being debated in the House if it contains drastic cuts to national security, but it remains unclear if large cuts in diplomacy and foreign aid programs would be enough to force White House action,” Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable” reports.  

“If the President is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the President will veto the bill,” according to the statement.

“The White House’s policy statement directly criticized the cuts to the Defense Department budget … But the statement made no reference to the cuts in State Department or foreign aid funding,” the blog notes. “In a background conversation with The Cable, an administration official declined to specify whether the cuts to diplomacy and development funding would elicit a presidential veto, but the official did criticize the cuts as unhelpful” (Rogin, 2/15).

On Capitol Hill, more than 400 amendments to Republican leaders’ continuing resolution were introduced Monday as a “rare open debate” on the FY 2011 budget continues in Congress this week, The Hill reports.

One measure, introduced by conservative Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), would “slash federal funding by an additional $20 billion,” according to the publication (Berman, 2/15). Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has introduced another amendment “to eliminate funding for family planning in the foreign aid budget,” according to Politico Pro. “The money is used to aid family planning programs worldwide, including the purchase and distribution of contraceptives,” the article reports (Hoskinson, 2/15).

“Lawmakers were expected to file dozens if not hundreds of additional amendments before the deadline on Tuesday, and the House prepared for an around-the-clock debate in a bid to pass the 359-page bill by Thursday,” The Hill writes (2/15). The CR would “cut about $60 billion from current [FY10] discretionary spending levels,” the National Journal reports, adding that “Republicans are using it to make good on a campaign promise to cut $100 billion in discretionary spending compared with President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget request” (Sanchez, 2/16).

Bono Comments On Importance Of U.S. Role In Fighting AIDS Globally

During a visit Monday to Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital in the town of Soweto, South Africa, musician and advocate Bono, highlighted U.S. investment in HIV prevention and treatment on the continent, the Associated Press/San Jose Mercury News reports. “It’s important for people in the capitals in Europe and in D.C. to know what they’ve done, particularly the American people who’ve been heroic in fighting against AIDS,” he said. Chris Hani-Baragwanath is the country’s largest hospital, the news service notes. Bono “had visited the same hospital in 2002 along with then U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill” just before the launch of PEPFAR (Gross, 2/15).

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