Obama Reiterates Threat to Veto Defense Bill

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR During a rare visit to the Pentagon, President Obama on Monday reiterated his threat to veto the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill because it relies on a budget framework that would shortchange the nation’s future by restraining spending on non-military aspects of national security such as education and research.“We’re not going to eat our seed corn,” Obama said, reported CQ.The military has the best troops in the world in part because “we’ve got a strong economy and we’ve got a well-educated population and we’ve got an incredible research operation and universities,” the president said. “We shortchange those, we’re going to be less secure,” he said.The defense authorization bill adopts the GOP budget framework, which adds $38 billion to DOD’s war account to sidestep the statutory spending caps. The GOP budget, however, forces non-defense spending to stick to the caps. “Part of our national security is making sure that we have a strong economy and that we continue to make investments in things we need like education and research,” Obama said.Separately, staff for the House and Senate Armed Services committees are continuing to work out differences in the two versions of the authorization bill. Committee leaders soon will tackle major areas of disagreement, including acquisition reform.  Defense budget expert Mackenzie Eaglen told the Hill that acquisition reform is the “biggest sticking point” between the two bills. One key difference is language in the Senate version shifting more decision-making authority from the defense secretary to the military services, a change opposed by the administration that could draw a veto from the president, according to Eaglen, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.“This is the only provision that could sway a decision by the president to veto it if he were not planning to do so already. If it stays, it is a near certainty it will garner a veto,” she said.last_img

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