By CAP’s Valeri Vasquez, CAP Energy Policy Special Assistant.
On February 15, the Obama Administration made clear that it would veto a continuing budget resolution that slashes public health protection and other essential programs. Meanwhile, at Tuesday’s White House press conference, President Obama referenced scalpels and machetes to illustrate his well-honed point about trimming the discretionary budget.
In a strongly-worded statement of administration policy, the White House said that
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.
And yes, the underlining is from the original statement.
The discretionary budget, Obama explained, merits a closer look if Americans are to win the future. Key investments are required in scientific research and development as well as education. Above all, earmarks will not be tolerated.
Obama issued a firm warning to special interest groups, reiterating his State of the Union pledge to “veto any bills that contain earmarks.” He emphasized that
unjustifiable spending through the tax code, [and] through tax breaks do not make us more competitive, do not create jobs here in the United States of America.
The need for decisive action is all the “more urgent and more serious” now that the country is beginning to pull out of the depths of the economic crisis, he said.
This third budget reflects a change in focus. The economy is now growing again. People are more hopeful. And we’ve created more than a million jobs over the last year. Employers are starting to hire again, and businesses are starting to invest again.
But growth cannot take off when special interests are weighing down the budget.
What is absolutely true is that it’s going to be difficult to achieve serious corporate tax reform if the formula is, lower our tax rates and let us keep all our special loopholes. If that’s the formula, then we’re not going to get it done.
I wouldn’t sign such a bill, and I don’t think the American people would sign such a bill.
Read the full transcript of the February 15th press conference here.
Read the statement of administration policy here.
— Valeri Vasquez is CAP Energy Policy Special Assistant.