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#White House warns Biden would veto House appropriations measures

The White House on Monday issued veto threats against two GOP-led House appropriations bills expected to come up for a vote this week as lawmakers seek to avoid a government shutdown in November.

The administration expressed its opposition to two separate funding bills likely to come up on the House floor in the coming days: one that would fund the Department of the Interior, Environment and related agencies, and another that would fund the Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and related agencies.

The House bills would cut Department of Transportation funding by $7 billion compared to fiscal year 2023 levels, $1.2 billion from HUD funding compared to 2023 levels, and nearly $4 billion from EPA funding compared to 2023 levels. 

If either bill made it to President Biden’s desk, he would veto them, the White House said. Both pieces of legislation would need to make it through the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

In both cases, the White House argued the bills put forward by Republicans in the House undercut an agreement reached by administration officials and GOP lawmakers in May on spending as part of negotiations to raise the debt limit.

“House Republicans had an opportunity to engage in a productive, bipartisan appropriations process, but instead are wasting time with partisan bills that cut domestic spending to levels well below the [Fiscal Responsibility Act] agreement and endanger critical services for the American people,” the White House said. “These levels would result in deep cuts to clean energy programs and other programs that work to combat climate change, essential nutrition services, law enforcement, consumer safety, education, and healthcare.”

The White House veto threats come as lawmakers face a Nov. 17 government funding deadline.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who was elected to the post last week, has said he wants to make as much progress as possible on the full slate of spending measures ahead of the looming deadline, even though a short-term funding patch will more than likely be needed to keep the government funded beyond Nov. 17.

The House has passed just five of 12 appropriations bills, while the Senate has approved none.

The Senate this week will continue voting on amendments to the appropriations “minibus,” with hopes of wrapping up consideration of the package this week.

The package includes legislation funding military construction and the departments of Veterans Affairs; Agriculture; Transportation; and Housing and Urban Development.

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