WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) — Republicans in Congress are preparing to attempt to override the expected veto of a defense policy bill sent to the White House.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent the National Defense Authorization Acton Tuesday to the desk of President Barack Obama, who has signaled his intent use his veto power for the fifth time in his administration.
While the White House opposes the bill because it retains caps on defense and non-defense spending, proponents of the bill say Obama’s veto should be directed to the defense appropriations bill, the Pentagon’s funding source.
With the bill and Obama’s opposition to it, Republicans are attempting to portray Obama as a president uncaring of defense and national security.
“The president wants to make a point about spending. There are certainly ways to do that without putting our troops in the middle,” Boehner said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the bill includes provisions for improved aircraft, cyber-defenses and aid to Ukraine, and offers improvements to service members’ lives.
“The veto threat is about one thing and one thing only, and that is about politics. [The bill] maintains the quality of life for our service members and their families, while addressing the needs of our wounded, ill and injured service members,” McCain said.
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was also critical of the potential veto, calling it “an inside Washington political game at the expense of our nation’s security and support for our troops.”
Republicans are not confident they have enough votes in Congress to override a veto. The vote in the House did not achieve a veto-proof majority.
The final version passed with 270 approving votes, 233 Republicans and 37 Democrats voting in favor. Twenty more votes would be required to override the veto, and an aide to Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., commented, “We believe the president has the votes to sustain his veto.”