The Obama administration this week continued its streak of vetoing almost every major piece of legislation coming out of Congress, including two new bills aimed at bringing transparency to the federal regulation-writing process.
Barely a month into the new Congress, the White House has now issued 11 explicit veto threats against legislation originating in the House, or about two a week. The White House has also indicated that it would veto a 12th bill, the Senate-passed bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
The two latest veto threats were on bills House Republicans have pursued for the last few years, but which have landed with a thud in the Democratic Senate. One of these is the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act, which would require the government to estimate how unfunded federal mandates affect the economy.
The House passed this bill Wednesday in a 250-173 vote that saw 9 Democrats vote for the bill. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said after the vote that President Barack Obama should withdraw his veto threat and support it.
"This common-sense jobs bill boosts transparency and accountability, and gives private-sector employers the opportunity to weigh in on new mandates," he said. "It has now passed the House three times with bipartisan support, and the president ought to reconsider his veto threat and work with us to help put more Americans back to work."
But the White House indicated Tuesday that it would continue to oppose the bill, and said it would be too much of a burden on the federal government to more closely examine the effects of its regulations.
"By layering on additional, burdensome judicial review and other unnecessary changes to the regulatory process, [the bill] would introduce needless uncertainty into agency decision-making and undermine the ability of agencies to provide critical public health and safety protections," the White House said. It also said the bill would "create needless grounds for judicial review, unduly slowing and increasing the cost of the regulatory process."
Also Tuesday, the White House said it would veto a bill the House will pass Thursday, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act. This will would require the government to take more care in issuing rules that hurt small companies.
But the White House said again that this would impose "costly analytical and procedural requirements" on agencies that write regulations.
"The bill would impose unnecessary new procedures on agencies and invite frivolous litigation," it said. It added the bill would "burden the existing framework with layers of new procedural requirements that would seriously undermine the ability of agencies to execute their statutory mandates."
So far, the White House has exempted just a few major bills from veto threats this year. In these cases, the White House did not say it supports the bills in question, and instead just didn't issue a statement saying it would veto them.
One of these is a bill to exempt veterans from being counted as employees under Obamacare, a bipartisan proposal aimed at making it easier to hire veterans. Obama has also spared a bill to shift money around at the Department of Veterans Affairs to boost suicide prevention programs there, and a bill to boost exports of liquefied natural gas to U.S. allies like Ukraine.
Below is a list of the "dirty dozen" bills that Obama has said he would veto, and you can read his veto threats here. The Senate's Keystone bill, S. 1, is not listed on the White House site, but officials have said all bills requiring Keystone approval would be vetoed: