Hand in head.Journalism is hard.Photo: Alex ProimosA few weeks ago, the House of Representatives voted through H.R. 1, their continuing appropriations act. It was full of tax cuts for the rich and slashed funding for the poor, elderly, and vulnerable — the usual GOP stuff.

The White House released a statement [PDF] vowing to veto it:

If the President is presented with a bill that undermines critical priorities or national security through funding levels or restrictions, contains earmarks, or curtails the drivers of long-term economic growth and job creation while continuing to burden future generations with deficits, the President will veto the bill.

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That’s my emphasis. Just note the language.

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Now, this is from the statement the White House put out today (haven’t seen it online yet) regarding the Upton/Inhofe efforts to block EPA from regulating CO2:

If the President is presented with this legislation, which would seriously roll back the CAA authority, harm Americans’ health by taking away our ability to decrease carbon pollution, and undercut fuel efficiency standards that will save Americans money at the pump while decreasing our dependence on oil, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Again, my emphasis.

The media seems largely to have ignored this distinction. Reuters says Obama “would veto.” The New York Times says Obama “promises veto.”

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But I don’t see a promise there. I see wiggle room where his advisers can “recommend” a veto and he can ignore their recommendations. And of course this leaves aside whether Obama would veto a spending or appropriations bill with an EPA-blocking rider.

My friends in green groups assure me Obama really means it, it’s just a matter of wording, but I for one no longer trust Obama’s promises to green groups. Nor do I trust Harry Reid when he says neither he nor the White House will “accept” any such riders.

Green groups need to stop acting like they’re friends with Obama or Reid. They’re not. Obama and Reid have screwed them before and will screw them again without blinking. The corporatist right is pushing, hard, and they won’t stop until the EPA is in shambles. The only thing to be done is push back, just as relentlessly and unceasingly.