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US: White House rejects Republican ‘piecemeal funding’ proposal

2nd Oct 2013

The White House has rejected Republican plans to fund individual parts of the federal government budget in response to the US government shutdown. The administration said that “piecemeal funding” was not acceptable.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama’s administration said it was not interested in moves by the Republican-led House of Representatives to provide funding on a piece-by-piece basis.

The House of Representatives debated three such bills in the evening – for national parks and museums, veterans’ benefits and the city government of Washington DC, which is overseen directly by the US government.

Republicans said they would reframe the legislation as a regular bill to be put to the chamber on Wednesday.

White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said on Tuesday that Obama would veto any targeted bills.

“These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government,” Brundage said.

“The president and the Senate have been clear that they won’t accept this kind of game-playing, and if these bills were to come to the president’s desk, he would veto them,” she said.

Health care remains sore issue

The crisis came to a head on Monday as Congress failed to reach agreement on budget funding ahead of a midnight deadline. Republicans have sought to halt the progress of the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature piece of healthcare legislation, by making a delay to the law a condition of approving the wider government budget. Obama has called on Republican leaders to approve six weeks of government funding free of “ideological riders.”

In a speech at the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, Obama accused Republicans of embarking on “an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.”

Following the shutdown, national monuments were barricaded and hundreds of thousands of government employees were sent home on unpaid leave.

As well as refusing to pass a budget for the fiscal year, which began Tuesday, Republicans have also indicated they are opposed to raising the country’s $16.7 trillion (12.35-trillion-euro) debt ceiling without concessions from the White House.

New borrowing above the fiscal ceiling will be required by October 17, or some bills will go unpaid.

rc/ch (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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