An economy on the mend and “middle-class politics” underscored U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, but buried in the speech was a four letter word that carried more weight for Republicans than all the others: veto. Obama urged the now Republican-controlled Congress to set aside partisan “demonizing” to work with him lest he exercise his veto pen.
“We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns,” the president said during his address. “We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.”
Here are five bills that could “earn” President Obama’s veto in 2015.
The Keystone authorization. The proposed fourth phase of the Keystone Pipeline XL project has long pitted the administration against Republicans. The president indicated earlier this month he would veto it should Congress approve its expansion. "The president has been pretty clear that he does not think circumventing a well-established process for evaluating these projects is the right thing for Congress to do," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
The later-term abortion bill. Later this month, the House will vote on H.R. 36, or the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The White House has indicated Obama would veto the bill. “The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 36, which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose,” the White House said in a statement.
The gas pipeline bill. The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, or H.R. 161, would make it easier for additional pipelines to be built. The White House said the bill would “allow the automatic approval of natural gas pipeline projects if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or other federal agencies do not issue the required permit, license or approval within rigid, unworkable timeframes.”
Defunding the president’s executive orders on immigration. The House last week voted to defund the president’s immigration orders, which granted clemency from deportation to millions of people in the U.S. illegally. The president reportedly would now allow it. “At a time when it is abundantly clear our immigration system is broken, and President Obama has taken what steps he can within the law to fix what he can about the system, the House has complicated an effort to fund the Department of Homeland Security with amendments that are not relevant,” Cecilia Munoz, White House domestic policy director, said in a statement.
Defunding Obamacare. House Republicans have threatened to derail Obama’s signature health care legislation. However, the president has said he would veto any attempt to repeal the law. “On health care, there are certainly some lines I’m going to draw,” Obama said during a press conference in November. “Repeal of the law I won’t sign.”