Obama Vetoes Defense Spending Bill
“The president has shown his real priority- at a time when [Syrian President] Assad is meeting with [Russian President] Putin, when we are struggling against ISIS, when China is building islands, he is going to veto a defense authorization bill to get an extra pound of flesh for non-defense spending”- Justin Johnson, senior policy analyst, the Heritage Foundation.
This afternoon, President Barack Obama vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act; the price of the bill was in the ballpark of $612 billion.
The reason behind the veto, claims the President was that “unfortunately, [it] falls woefully short in three areas.”
The first reason given was that authorizing the bill keeps the sequester in place, which the President claims “is inadequate for us to fund our military in a stable way that allows all of our armed forces to plan properly”.
A genuine enough sounding reason however this isn’t the whole story- numerous times before, Obama has stated that he wishes to eliminate the sequester (which was originally conceived in 2013) in its entirety. What the president is worried about isn’t the military’s budget, it’s the affect on his domestic policies an increase of appropriations funding of $38 billion would have. It would appear those like Obama and Nancy Pelosi are more so bitter about recent Republican bills that keep sequester funding levels in place, again in areas such as his domestic policies.
Obama claims that the bill also does not adequately allow the military to modernize and be more efficient.
What the President fails to mention is that vetoing the bill does not allow for changes in the military in some major areas- a overhauled retirement system to replace our current, archaic one (complete with a reduced pension and a 401 (k)-style plan that would give all troops something to leave the service with); new services for sexual assault victims; a review of personal firearms on U.S. bases for troops; reenlistment bonuses.
Obama claims that his final reason for vetoing the bill was that it keeps Guantanamo Bay open. Since very early on in his presidency the President has been adamant about closing Gitmo. Worth nothing however is that past budgets have kept Guantanamo open as well, and yet Obama never failed to sign them.
Washington isn’t fighting over the defense budget for the sake of the defense budget, but instead see a leaner alternative as a cure to non-defense spending.
Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush all also vetoed the NDAA, however their concerns were with the defense spending itself.
Unfortunately, and not for the first time under the current administration the budget of the United States Military is used as nothing more than a bargaining chip in the game of Washington politics.
About the author: Andrew Farquharson is an Iraq Campaign veteran and an ex-cavalry scout currently living the dream in Newport, Rhode Island as a college student. Aside from writing for 11Bravos his hobbies include mountain climbing, shooting guns and convincing women they should date him. Comments or hate mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or, follow him on Instagram @Lord_Farquharson