COMMENTARY | President Barack Obama backslid on two veto threats this week. His first change of heart came with the unchanged National Defense Authorization Act, the second came Friday night on the payroll tax cut extension legislation. Do these decisions reflect changes in the president's policies, are they intended to be politically expedient or is our Commander-in-Chief simply eager to begin his Christmas vacation?
The payroll tax cut extension has been a priority for Obama as a statement from the White House on Dec. 13 reiterated. It falls in place with his stated intentions to help middle class America. If the legislation addressed only the payroll tax cut extension, I would have no issue with the president not vetoing the measure.
But the onerous provision in the legislation, insisted upon by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican legislators relates to the Keystone XL pipeline. Obama had indicated he would make a decision on the pipeline project after an alternate route could be determined. Legislators, through provisions in the payroll tax cut extension bill, will require the president to make a decision on the pipeline project within 60 days of signing the legislation into law.
Obama took a firm stand when the pipeline provision was first mentioned as part of the tax cut extension legislation. After learning that the extension was well-received by Senate leaders, and even though the pipeline provision remained in the bill, the president indicated he would not veto the measure because it prevented tax increases to 160 million Americans.
The Keystone XL pipeline has numerous supporters and detractors and is no small project. I find it offensive that Congress wants a fast answer on this issue. I find it offensive the president has changed his stance on vetoing legislation with provisions that are objectionable to him -- and to the Americans who support him. The president now looks like a schoolyard bully; he's full of bluster until he is challenged.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation , L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.