Washington: The White House issued its second veto threat since Republicans took full control of Congress, saying on Wednesday that President Barack Obama would block legislation to increase his health care law's definition of a full-time worker from 30 to 40 hours per week.
The announcement came a day after Obama's spokesman said he would veto the first bill of the new Senate — a measure to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry Canadian oil into the US.
Lawmakers formally opened the new session of Congress on yesterday with the Republicans in charge of both the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first time since Obama took office.
The party's sweep of the November elections is certain to complicate the final two years of Obama's presidency as he seeks to cement his policies on health, the environment and immigration.
Republicans argue that the health law's 30-hour requirement is encouraging companies to cut workers' hours.
The House plans to debate the measure this week as one of its first orders of business in the new Congress.
The White House said in statement there is no evidence the law has caused a broad shift to part-time work, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the legislation would mean 1 million fewer people receiving health coverage at work.
The health care law, Obama' signature domestic achievement, has extended insurance coverage to millions of Americans who previous lacked it.
Republicans have criticized the law, which was passed in 2010, for requiring Americans to carry insurance or face penalties.
They also warn that it will worsen health care in the US.
The Senate minority leader, Sen. Harry Reid, warned in a statement today that Democrats wouldn't acquiesce to attempts to undo Obama's health care law or protections for workers.
"I have no intention of just rolling over," Reid said. "I can't. Not when the middle class is teetering on the verge of extinction."