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House GOP adds NIH, National Guard to shutdown bill strategy
House Republicans plan to keep trying their new piecemeal approach to solving the shutdown, setting up yet another round of votes Wednesday on bills that would fund veterans affairs and national parks — and adding new bills to fund the National Institutes of Health and to pay the National Guard and the military reserves.
But the White House budget office said President Obama “strongly opposes” those bills and would veto them if they were to reach his desk.
“Consideration of appropriations bills in a piecemeal fashion is not a serious or responsible way to run the United States government. Instead of opening up a few government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the government,” the budget office said in a statement vowing the veto.
House Democrats blocked the veterans and national parks bills on Tuesday, and also defeated one that would let the District of Columbia spend its own tax money to stay open during a shutdown.
But the Tuesday votes were under rules that required a two-thirds majority to pass. Wednesday’s votes will only need a simple majority, and judging by the previous tallies there is significant bipartisan support to push these bills through.
Indeed, the veterans affairs spending measure attracted more than 30 Democrats.
House Republicans say that if the Senate won’t negotiate, then the House will just pass individual bills to fund critical or high-profile parts of the government, daring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to reject them.
Democrats bristled at being forced to pick and choose between their favorite spending projects, and got backup from Mr. Obama’s veto threat.
Republicans, though, point to the bill the president signed this week to keep paychecks flowing to the troops during the shutdown as evidence Mr. Obama might be willing to blunt some of the worst effects of the shutdown.
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