Bloomberg News

Budget Official Says Obama Willing to Fight Again on Spending

October 20, 2011

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s administration said today that he won’t back down from another spending fight with congressional Republicans and is willing to veto legislation needed to fund the federal government for the rest of its fiscal year.

Obama will veto any measure that “undermines critical domestic priorities or national security,” contains funding on pet projects known as “earmarks” or fails to make “tough choices to cut where needed while maintaining what we need to spur long-term job creation,” White House Budget Director Jacob Lew said in a letter to lawmakers.

The administration will “strongly” oppose any legislative provisions aimed at its health-care or financial industry overhauls, as well as environmental, consumer and safety regulations, Lew said.

He also warned against including provisions that “abandon settled approaches to divisive social issues,” without offering specifics.

Congress hasn’t approved any of the 12 annual spending bills needed to fund federal agencies for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. A stopgap measure is funding the government until Nov. 18.

In late September, Republicans who control the House announced plans to cut funding for Pell college tuition grants, National Public Radio and other Democratic priorities, a move that would spur contentious negotiations on the federal budget.

Obama and the Republicans barely avoided a government shutdown in April over final funding for the 2011 fiscal year, spent much of the summer haggling over raising the federal debt limit before reaching a last-minute agreement and argued over the stopgap funding bill now in effect.

--Editors: Don Frederick, Jim Rubin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Faler in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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