PRESIDENT Barack Obama warned Republicans in Congress today that “I have a veto pen and come January I won’t be afraid to use it.”
With Republicans set to take control of Congress next week, Mr Obama is losing his bulwark against a barrage of Bills targeting his plans and reforms.
Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has only vetoed legislation twice, both in fairly minor circumstances.
“Now I suspect there are going to be times when I’ve got to pull out the pen,” he told journalists yesterday.
“I’m going to defend gains that we’ve made in healthcare.
“I’m going to defend gains that we’ve made on environment and clean air and clean water.”
Obama was seeking to set the tone for a year in which Congress and the president are on a collision course.
Buoyed by decisive gains in last month’s midterm elections, Republicans are itching to use their newfound Senate majority to derail presidential plans on immigration, climate change and healthcare.
The likeliest points of friction surround Environmental Protection Agency regulations, the Keystone XL pipeline and President Obama’s unilateral steps on immigration, which allow millions of illegal immigrants to avoid deportation and claim work permits.
To overturn President Obama’s veto, Republicans would need the votes of two-thirds of the House and Senate — so they would need to persuade some Democrats to defy the president.