President Obama on Thursday took the rare step of vetoing a major defense policy bill, upping the stakes in a faceoff with Republicans over government spending. Obama used his veto pen on the National Defense Authorization Act during a photo-op in Oval Office. “I’m going to be vetoing this authorization bill. I’m going to be sending it back to Congress, and my message to them is very simple: Let’s do this right,” Obama said. It’s highly unusual for a president to veto the defense legislation, which typically becomes law with bipartisan support. The move amounts to a public rebuke of congressional Republicans, who warned that vetoing the $612 billion measure would put the nation’s security at risk. The veto was Obama’s third this year and the fifth of his presidency. The Defense authorization bill has been vetoed four times in the last half-decade. Obama argues the bill irresponsibly skirts spending caps adopted in 2011 by putting $38 billion into a war fund not subject to the limits, a move he called a “gimmick.” He has called on Congress to increase both defense and nondefense spending.
Don’t believe the White House spin on this. This isn’t about the OCO spending. What is IS about is two things. Obama wants to lift the limits on non-defense spending, and is holding the military budget hostage for that.
The other reason is that the NDAA explicitly prohibits closing Guantanamo Bay, and that also has the petulant President whining.