Entries in Veto (10)


Michigan Veto Preserves 'Gun Free' Schools

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LANSING, Mich.) -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have invalidated "gun free" zones like those at schools and churches.

The law was passed by the state legislature in Michigan the day before the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting. It would have allowed individual schools to ban guns on their property, but Snyder vetoed it because of concerns that public schools did not retain enough power to keep guns off their campuses.

"While we must vigilantly protect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, we also must ensure the right of designated public entities to exercise their best discretion in matters of safety and security," he said. "These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit to do so."

But some state laws already permit individual school districts to allow concealed weapons on campus. The thinking is that law-abiding citizens with concealed weapons can deter and react to the person bent on destruction.

Four days after the deadly school shooting in Connecticut that left 20 children and six staff members dead, two Republican governors have spoken favorably of considering proposals to put guns in the hands of teachers and administrators.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry expressed support for allowing school districts to determine whether teachers can carry concealed handguns in class, which at least one Texas district already permits.

"In the state of Texas, if you go through the process, have been trained, and you are a handgun-licensed individual, you should be able to carry a gun anywhere in the state," Perry told the NE Tarrant County Tea Party Monday evening, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth.

This is not the majority opinion in the United States, however. An ABC News-Washington Post poll conducted in the aftermath of the Friday shooting found that 54 percent of Americans favor stricter gun control laws in general and 59 percent support a ban specifically on high-capacity ammunition clips such as the ones used in Newtown.

But Perry and McDonnell are far from alone.

One Texas school district, the Harrold Independent School District, adopted a policy in 2007 allowing teachers to carry concealed handguns in schools. Almost 200 miles northwest of Dallas, Harrold is a small school district near the Texas-Oklahoma border that teaches 100 children K-12.

"We're a rural community," Harrold superintendent David Thweatt told ABC News in a phone interview. "We're in a county about a little smaller than the state of Rhode of island, so we're 30 minutes from law enforcement. Thirty minutes is an extremely long length of time."

Harrold implemented the "Guardian Plan," the district's policy that allows teachers to carry concealed handguns, after the 2006 shooting at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pa., which killed five young girls, and the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech that led to the death of 32 students and teachers.

"We were just concerned with trying to protect our kids, and there were enough shootings, as far as I was concerned, to develop this plan," Thweatt said.

In Perry's state of Texas, lawmakers in 2011 narrowly failed to pass legislation allowing permitted handgun owners to carry concealed guns on college campuses. But they are allowed in the statehouse.

Five states have provisions allowing concealed weapons on college campuses and 23 others allow individual schools to allow guns on college campuses.

Some proponents wouldn't stop at college campuses.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, a gun rights advocate who represents an east Texas district, said he wished that the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been armed when Adam Lanza opened fire on the young school children and teachers Friday morning.

"I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn't have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands. But she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," Gohmert said on Fox News Sunday.

In Texas' Harrold Independent School District, The Guardian Plan consists of four components. An employee must obtain a concealed handgun license from the state of Texas, and the school board would approve them individually to carry in schools. The teachers must then go through extended training, and the ammunition used in the guns must be frangible, meaning it is made of small particles and breaks apart when it hits a hard object like wood or a plastic wall.

Harrold employs about 25 teachers and personnel, but superintendent Thweatt would not specify how many employees or which ones carry concealed weapons in the schools. Thweatt said many parents in his district support the concealed-handgun policy for teachers.

"Parents often cite that the reason they're bringing their kids to our schools is because we have better security for them," he said. "When you send your kids to school, you want them to come home to you."

In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Thweatt says more school districts in Texas have reached out to him for information about Harrold's concealed-handgun policy.

The Texas penal code prohibits weapons from being used in schools or educational institutions "unless, pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of the institution," language allows for school boards to determine whether teachers can carry handguns in schools.

Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency, said the agency has not heard of other school districts' wishing to implement the same policy as Harrold but noted that the districts would not be required to report it to the agency.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama May Veto House-Passed Student Loan Bill Over Funding

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration Friday threatened to veto the GOP-proposed House version of a student loan bill because it would repeal a fund for preventive health services.  The House voted Friday afternoon to approve a one-year extension of the student loan interest rates for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans, much to the dismay of Democrats.

“This is a politically-motivated proposal and not the serious response that the problem facing America’s college students deserves,” the White House said in a statement. “If the president is presented with H.R. 4628, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.”

The $5.9 billion bill, which the Republican-controlled House passed Friday, would prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling July 1. To pay for it, however, the GOP version would cut the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a program created as part of the president’s health care reform act.

“Women, in particular, will benefit from this Prevention Fund, which would provide for hundreds of thousands of screenings for breast and cervical cancer,” according to the White House.

The veto threat comes after the president spent the week publicly campaigning for Congress to extend a 2007 law that cut student loan rates to 3.4 percent.  If Congress does not act, interest rates will double to 6.8 percent this summer.

Republicans fired back at the veto threat, accusing the president of playing politics. “The president is so desperate to fake a fight that he’s willing to veto a bill to help students over a slush fund that he advocated cutting in his own budget. It’s a simple as this: Republicans are acting to help college students and the president is now getting in the way,” a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement.

The White House concedes the president is proposing gradual and targeted reductions to the fund, but, according to a White House spokesman “reducing it and gutting it completely are two very different things.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Vows to Veto Attempts to Undo Automatic Spending Cuts

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After the Congressional supercommittee failed to reach a deal to cut the budget, President Obama vowed Monday night to veto any attempts to undo $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would take effect in 2013.

“Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts.  My message to them is simple: No.  I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending,” he said in the White House briefing room.  “There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.  We need to keep the pressure up to compromise, not turn off the pressure.”

The president’s threat came just one hour after the leaders of the supercommittee announced they had failed to reach a deal to reduce the deficit, forcing the government to face the automatic cuts.

“The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion,” Obama said.

The president placed blame for the failure of the supercommittee squarely on Republicans.

“There are still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington,” he said.

“They continue to insist on protecting a hundred billion dollars worth of tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans at any cost, even if it means reducing the deficit with deep cuts to things like education and medical research, even if it means deep cuts in Medicare… They simply will not budge from that negotiating position.  And so far, that refusal continues to be the main stumbling block that has prevented Congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce our deficit,” Obama said.

The president praised Democrats, however, for being willing to “put politics aside” and make reasonable adjustments to achieve a balanced approached to reducing the deficit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama on Debt Deal Failure: GOP 'Refused to Listen'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama said Monday he will veto any efforts to get rid of the automatic spending cuts that will be triggered by the supercommittee’s failure to reach a bipartisan solution to deficit reduction.

“There will be no easy off-ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up to compromise, not turn off the pressure,” the president said Monday evening. “The only way these spending cuts will not take place is if Congress gets back to work and agrees on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion.”

The $1.2 trillion in cuts that will be triggered are divided equally between social programs and defense spending. Republicans have dubbed the defense cuts “draconian” and, following news of the supercommittee’s failure, said they are now working on a plan to minimize the impact of the sequester on the Department of Defense.

But the president on Monday flatly said he won’t accept any such deal and urged the two sides to continue working on an agreement.

He squarely placed the blame on Republicans for failing to come together on the deal that was to have been inked by midnight Monday.

“There are still too many Republicans in Congress who have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington,” Obama said. "At this point, at least, they simply will not budge from that negotiating position....That refusal continues to be the main stumbling block.”

The co-chairs of the supercommittee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Pat Murray, D-Wash., said they were “deeply disappointed” by the lack of a deal to cut $1.2 trillion from the budget.

“After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline,” the two said.

But they pledged to continue the talks.

“I knew that it would be hard to do,” Murray told reporters. “I think we all know that our country is divided. Certainly the committee had different philosophies....I am disappointed tonight that things I cared about deeply, which is getting our country back on track and making shared sacrifice, aren’t the result of this committee’s hard work.”

Tax cuts were one of the biggest dividing factors between the two sides.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, steered clear of playing the blame game, only saying that “the House will forge ahead with the commitments.”

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said they are now working on a plan to minimize the “draconian” impact of the sequester on the Department of Defense, which will bear half of the $1.2 trillion in budget cuts.

The cuts would begin in 2013, when the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Defense Department would have to slash 10 percent, or about $550 billion, from its budget. Combined with the $450 billion worth of cuts already planned, that would amount to $1 trillion in the next decade.

“These cuts represent a threat to the national security interests of the United States, and cannot be allowed to occur,” McCain and Graham said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Issues Veto Threat Against Boehner Bill

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Tuesday issued a veto threat against the deficit reduction bill being offered by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, saying that were it to be “presented to the President, the President’s senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.”

And in that space, House Republicans see wiggle room for the president to sign the Boehner legislation, though no one is sure it will even pass the House, much less the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., declared it dead on arrival.

The White House insists Republicans are wrong about the wiggle room, but officials have been careful to avoid definitive language.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Threatens to Veto Deficit Reduction Package

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In his meeting with congressional leaders Thursday, President Obama said he would veto any deficit reduction bill that doesn't raise the debt ceiling until after the November 2012 election, sources tell ABC News.

The president argued that this was a time to think big, sources said, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, agreed. Though how to get to an agreement is another matter.

As ABC News reported Wednesday, the president Thursday outlined three options.

One is a smaller, short-term deficit reduction measure. A second option would reduce the deficit by the same amount that the Congress would vote to increase the debt ceiling, roughly $2 trillion, as negotiated in the talks led by Vice President Biden.

The president argued for seizing the moment, going beyond the first two options and addressing new revenues and taxes, entitlement spending, defense spending, and discretionary spending, putting together a larger package that seriously addresses the deficit and steers the nation towards a more fiscally sustainable path.

All three scenarios need to extend the debt ceiling until after the election, Obama said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Washington State Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill

Office of Gov. Chris Gregoire(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Under threat of the federal government, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed key pieces of a medical marijuana law, saying she doesn't want to put state employees at risk of federal criminal charges.

"I will not subject my state employees to federal prosecution -- period," said Gregoire, who worries what would happen if the state started licensing medical marijuana dispensaries and growing operations, which are legal under state law, but not federal law.

The legislation in question, Senate Bill 5073, would create a system of state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries, patient registries and cooperative growing gardens.

But the U.S. attorneys for Washington state, Mike Orsmby and Jenny Durkan, said in a letter to the governor on April 14 that marijuana use is still a federal crime and anyone helping make that use possible, such as a state employee at a patient registry, could be prosecuted.

"Growing, distributing and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities," Ormsby and Durkan wrote. "State employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability under the Controlled Substance Act."

A union that represents thousands of state employees asked Gregoire to veto the bill.

Medical marijuana user Rob White, a paraplegic from being gunned down during a robbery 15 years ago, favors state control of dispensaries and growing operations, and better protection against arrest.

"I think as people who are sick and dying, (we) should not have to live in fear of losing our freedom for using something that helps make life a little more bearable," White said.

A medical marijuana bill was approved in Washington in 1998, making it legal for patients to grow the the plant themselves or designate a caregiver to grow it for them. But since then, even though the state law does not allow for the sale of marijuana, marijuana dispensaries have been established across the state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Administration Threatens to Veto Bill to End HAMP Housing Program  

The White House/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama would be urged to veto the House Republican bill that would kill his administration's underperforming housing assistance program and replace it with a new program, a statement from the Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday afternoon.

"The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 839, which would eliminate the Department of the Treasury's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)," read a statement of administration policy issued Tuesday afternoon. "As tens of thousands of responsible American homeowners struggling with their mortgages receive permanent assistance each month from HAMP, the Administration believes that continuation of HAMP is important to the Nation's sustained economic recovery. If the President is presented with H.R. 839, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

In February 2009, President Obama said HAMP would help 3 or 4 million American renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. Two years later, the program has permanently renegotiated the loans of approximately 540,000 Americans. Approximately 1.5 million Americans have received temporary modifications -- but more than 800,000 of them have been cancelled.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., recently called HAMP "an arbitrary, capricious system that kicks hard-working people out on the street. The administration cannot allow this to continue."

Earlier this month, Neil Barofsky, then the inspector general of TARP program, testified before Congress that HAMP was "clearly a failure," saying there is "basically universal and bipartisan agreement that the HAMP program is failing to meet TARP's goal of preserving homeownership."

But, Barofsky said, "Secretary Geithner continues to celebrate the status quo…Treasury stands alone in its defense."

Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Congress that ending the HAMP program "would cause a huge amount of damage" because the housing market is in such a fragile state. "I would recommend against it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


President Obama Issues Veto Threat

Photo Courtesy - The White House | Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama issued a veto threat Tuesday afternoon against the House GOP “continuing resolution” that would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, saying the cuts in the bill would “undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world” as well as undermine “core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation, and would reduce funding for the Department of Defense to a level that would leave the Department without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements.”

Democrats in Congress criticize the GOP cuts, which they say would kick more than 200,000 children out of Head Start, cut $800 per student in the maximum Pell Grant award, eliminate $1.4 billion in funding for science and energy research, and cut $2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects, among other changes.

Earlier in the day, at a press conference, ABC News asked the president about whether he was willing to go along with some House GOP attempts to reduce spending.

Interestingly he didn’t issue the veto threat -- though he could have. The Republican resolution was introduced Friday night. It seems likely that President Obama didn’t want to be on camera issuing a threat to a bill that would attempt to cut spending, preferring instead to seem bipartisan and very "come-let-us-reason-together."

President Obama said it was his “goal is to work with the Republicans both on the continuing resolution…I think it is important to make sure that we don't try to make a series of symbolic cuts this year that could endanger the recovery....If the steps that we take then prompt thousands of layoffs in state or local government; or core vital functions of government aren't performed properly, well, that could also have a dampening impact on our recovery as well.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama ‘Would Veto’ Health Care Repeal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) – In his first veto threat of the new Congress, President Obama has said he will veto the heath care repeal if it comes to his desk.

In a statement of administrative policy, the Office of Budget and Management said House passage of the repeal would “explode the deficit, raise costs for the American people and businesses, deny an estimated 32 million people health insurance, and take us back to the days when insurers could deny, limit or drop coverage for any American.”

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released a preliminary analysis that a repeal of the Health Care Reform law, including reduced spending on Medicare, would cost $145 billion through the end of the decade, and $230 billion by 2021.

Speaker of the House John Boehner dismissed the report, saying that Congress needs to hold true to campaign promises to repeal the legislation.

 “We made a commitment to the American people. We're listening to the American people,” Boehner said. “They want this bill repealed. And we are going to repeal it, and we're going to do everything we can over the course of however long it takes to stop this, because it will ruin the best health care system in the world, it will bankrupt our nation and it will ruin our economy.”

The OMB said that if the legislation makes it to the President’s desk, “he would veto it.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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