People attending a House Rules Committee hearing on Saturday evening burst into laughter when Rep. Jim McGovern (D.-Mass.) affirmed to House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R.-Ky.) that President Barack Obama, by threatening to veto a continuing resolution to fund the government past Monday if it includes a House amendment to delay Obamacare, has thus “drawn a red line” on the CR.
The committee was meeting to approve the rule by which the House would consider the Senate-passed CR and amendments to it that would repeal a tax on medical devices and delay Obamacare for one year.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D.-N.Y.), the ranking member of the committee, read a position statement she said was from the administration that threatened the veto.
“If the president was presented with H.J.Res. 59 as amended by the amendments, he would veto the bill,” said Slaughter, reading from the administration’s statement.
A few minutes later, after Rep. McGovern had expressed his opposition to what the Republican majority was planning to do, House Appropriations Chairman Rodgers, who had briefly testified to the committee about the amendments, asked McGovern if he would yield.
The ensuing exchange between Rogers and McGovern on Obama’s veto threat caused the committee chamber to burst into laughter.
Rogers: “Would the gentleman yield?
McGovern: “I happily yield.”
Rogers: “You say the president has threatened to veto the bill?”
McGovern: “No, he hasn’t threatened. He said he absolutely will veto.”
Rogers: “He’s drawn a red line has he?”
At this point, the small hearing room—which was largely filled with committee members, other members of Congress who had come to testify and congressional staff—burst into laughter.
Rep. McGovern then stated his belief that the president was serious about his then-just-issued veto threat.
“And, you know what,” said McGovern, “I think he’s very serious about this.”
Previously, President Barack Obama had drawn a red line against the Syrian regime using chemical weapons.