In an interview he recorded just prior to leaving Washington to begin his Hawaiian vacation, President Barack Obama predicted gridlock throughout the next two years. He plans to use his pen (of pen and phone fame) to veto legislation coming from the incoming Republican Congress.
During his six years in office, the president has only vetoed legislation twice, according to the Associated Press. But then again, there was little need to to do so previously.
The Democrats controlled both chambers during his first two years in office. Throughout the last four, he had Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to run interference for him by blocking bills the president didn’t like.
The 114th Congress, beginning January 3rd, promises to be a whole new ballgame.
“I haven’t used the veto pen very often since I’ve been in office,” Obama said in an NPR interview airing Monday, according to the AP via CNS News. “Now, I suspect, there are going to be some times where I’ve got to pull that pen out.”
He added: “I’m going to defend gains that we’ve made in health care. I’m going to defend gains that we’ve made on environment and clean air and clean water.”
The AP reported:
Obama’s notice to the GOP came as he sought to set the tone for a year in which Congress and the president are on a near-certain collision course. Buoyed by decisive gains in last month’s midterm elections, Republicans are itching to use their newfound Senate majority to derail Obama’s plans on immigration, climate change and health care, to name a few.
To overturn Obama’s veto, Republicans would need the votes of two-thirds of the House and Senate. Their majorities in both chambers are not that large, so they would still need to persuade some Democrats to defy the president.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicts that not all bills will be vetoed.
“Bipartisan jobs bills will see the light of day and will make it to the President’s desk, and he’ll have to make decisions about ideology versus creating jobs for the middle class,” McConnell said in response to Obama’s comments. “There’s a lot we can get done together if the president puts his famous pen to use signing bills rather than vetoing legislation his liberal allies don’t like.”
But the president may even have issues with “bipartisan jobs bills” given the differing philosophies between Obama and the GOP as to what constitutes a jobs bill.
For example, Republicans may consider lowering the corporate tax rate as a jobs bill. Obama would rather see Congress extend unemployment compensation.
The AP reported:
Potential areas for cooperation include tax reform and global trade deals — both issues where Obama and Republicans see at least partially eye to eye. Conversely, the likeliest points of friction surround Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the Keystone XL pipeline and Obama’s unilateral steps on immigration, which let millions of people in the U.S. illegally avoid deportation and get work permits.
Obama also talked about his latest shellacking that was the 2014 midterm elections.
“I think we had a great record for members of Congress to run on and I don’t think we — myself and the Democratic Party — made as good of a case as we should have,” Obama said. “And you know, as a consequence, we had really low voter turnout, and the results were bad.”