Though he's spending the day preparing to deliver his 2015 State of the Union address, Mr. Obama hasn't gone entirely off the grid. He issued two veto threats Tuesday, warning Republicans he would block two bills pertaining to abortion and natural gas pipeline permitting.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks unless they were necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. The same legislation passed the last Congress but died in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The result would likely be different now that Republicans control the upper chamber, prompting the administration to argue that it "unacceptably restrict women's health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman's right to choose."
The second bill, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny applications for natural gas pipeline projects within 12 months. If it fails to do so, the application is automatically approved. Similar legislation passed the House in the last Congress at the end of 2013, and 26 Democrats voted with Republicans.
The administration warned the bill would create conflicts with existing regulations, "causing confusion and the risk of increased litigation." Additionally, the veto threat said, "The bill's requirements could force agencies to make decisions based on incomplete information or information that may not be available, including potential environmental and community impacts of the proposed pipelines, within the stringent deadlines, and to deny applications that otherwise would have been approved, but for lack of sufficient review time." It argues that it could delay projects that actually might have been approved with sufficient review time.
These two bills bring to seven the total number Mr. Obama has threatened to veto since the start of the year. The other bills he has threatened to veto would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, change the definition of a work week under the Affordable Care Act to 40 hours instead of 30, roll back the president's executive action shielding millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, reform the way agencies create new regulations, and roll back certain Wall Street reforms and consumer financial protections.