Right Hooks

Stage Set for an Obama Veto on Defense Spending

This is a struggle for power over the purse strings.

Dan Gilmore · Oct. 20, 2015
A soldier fires a gun while hooked up to biomechanical sensors in order to learn more about recoil for weapons development. Photo courtesy U.S. Army

Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act with bipartisan numbers, as it very nearly always does. House Speaker John Boehner signed the bill. Now, the legislation authorizing the government’s spending on defense heads to Barack Obama’s desk, where he said he’d veto it. Overall, the bill makes encouraging steps toward defense spending reform because it revamps the military’s pension plan, and keeps caps on spending. The Wall Street Journal notes that the bill cuts out some bureaucratic red tape preventing the military from getting new weapons and new technology to its conflict zones. But the bill may become a casualty in the Obama administration’s bickering with Congress. He is threatening the veto pen of doom because the Republican-controlled Congress is, well, somewhat conservative in its approach to domestic spending. The administration released a statement in June saying Obama “will not support a budget that locks in sequestration, and he will not fix defense without fixing non-defense spending.” Since when has Obama been concerned about stewarding money? No, this is a struggle for power over the purse strings and Obama is willing to play the military as a pawn.

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