By vetoing the FY16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the President showed his true colors by placing politics over the well-being of our men and women in uniform. During these times of increased global threats – whether from China, Russia, North Korea, the Islamic State, or terrorist networks – ensuring our service members have the resources they need to accomplish their mission should not be political.
This legislation authorizes the same level of funding requested in the President’s budget, and was sent to his desk with strong bipartisan support from both the House and Senate. Ultimately, the President chose to disregard national defense in order to score political points. I wouldn’t be surprised if our enemies were cheering during the President’s veto ceremony.
Debunking The President's Defense Bill Veto
Following President Obama’s unprecedented veto of the FY16 NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee detailed a number of important points to debunk the President’s baseless justification:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The NDAA "keeps in place the sequester that is inadequate for us to properly fund our military in a stable, sustained way and allows all of our armed forces to plan properly…This bill instead resorts to gimmicks that does not allow the Pentagon to do what it needs to do”
FACT: As an authorizing bill, the NDAA does not have the power to end sequester. What it does do is authorize exactly the amount the President requested for the military- consistent with the Pentagon’s plans for the next fiscal year. The President may dismiss the use of the Overseas Contingency Operations fund (OCO), but the President himself, requested $51 billion in OCO funding. The NDAA identified and specifically authorized key programs within that fund to meet the needs of the military.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The NDAA “prevents a wide range of reforms that are necessary for us to get our military modernized and able to deal with the many threats that are presenting themselves in the 21st century.”
FACT: This is the most reform-centered defense bill in decades. The NDAA implements fundamental reform of DOD’s broken and wasteful acquisition system, including twelve of the fourteen acquisition reforms the Department requested. The NDAA also modernizes military retirement, extending a portable 401(k)-style retirement plan to the 83% of troops who currently receive no retirement benefits.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “This legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world.”
FACT: The President has never submitted a plan for closing Guantanamo Bay. Despite years of campaigning and veto threats, he has never proposed where detainees too dangerous to release might be held, or what he would do with new terrorist captures. The NDAA requests that he submit such a plan. The restrictions on closing GTMO and transferring GTMO detainees to the U.S. are exactly the same as restrictions signed into law by the President every year since 2010.
House Armed Services Committee – http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/2015/10/ndaa-setting-the-record-straight