House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks to reporters on the eve of a vote on a bill to defund President Obama's health care law.
(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP)
WASHINGTON - The White House vowed Thursday that President Obama will veto a GOP effort to defund his signature health care law, as Speaker John Boehner said the House is on track to gut it as part of a stopgap measure to fund the government.
President Obama will not sign the bill funding the government through Dec. 15 because "it advances a narrow ideological agenda that threatens our economy and the interests of the middle class," according to a statement from the Office of Management and Budget.
In its present form, the spending bill is unlikely to ever reach Obama's desk.
The measure includes a provision pushed by conservatives to strip funding for the law they deride as "Obamacare," which has no chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The legislation also would prioritize debt payments if Congress doesn't raise the nation's borrowing authority by mid-October.
Boehner said the House vote coming Friday will put the burden on the Senate. If the dispute over the funding bill cannot be resolved by the end of the month, the government faces a shutdown on Oct. 1.
"We're going to win the fight over here," Boehner said, pushing the fight over the stopgap spending measure and Obama's health care law to the Senate. "It's time for them to pick up the mantle and get the job done."
While Boehner has said Republicans do not want to shut down the government, their goal is to get Democrats to agree to more budget cuts and other fiscal changes. The vote Friday is a prelude to a larger battle over raising the debt ceiling that is just a few weeks away.
The "president needs to recognize that we've got a shared responsibility to govern," Boehner said.
Democrats criticized House Republicans for brinksmanship politics. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called her House GOP colleagues "legislative arsonists," while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid labeled them "anarchists."
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said it is "unconscionable" for the GOP to risk government default over a health care law passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court.
"We've had this battle," Carney said.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew cautioned this week that waiting until the eleventh hour to raise the debt ceiling "could be very dangerous" and warned Congress not to "gamble with the full faith and credit of the United States of America."
Contributing: David Jackson and Paul Singer
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