White House faces another veto decision as House passes new defense act

Last week the House of Representatives passed a second National Defense Authorization Act for 2016 (NDAA) after a presidential veto torpedoed Congress’ first attempt at the bill that authorizes U.S. defense spending.

A recent bipartisan budget agreement that will increase discretionary funding for both defense and non-defense use helped the new NDAA breeze through the House with a 370-58 vote margin. The matter will be taken up on Tuesday by the Senate, where the bill is also expected to pass by a wide margin.

That will send the NDAA back to the Oval Office where President Obama will be faced with deciding whether to veto the bill again. The president’s initial veto was in response to large contingency funds written into the bill that he said gives the Pentagon a way to circumvent defense budget caps while restricting non-defense federal spending.

The first bill also included language that would restrict closing the detention centers in Guantanamo Bay. That language is still in the current bill.

The budget deal paved the way to the NDAA’s passage by increasing non-defense spending as well, though the new bill still restricts Obama’s ability to fulfill his campaign promise to close Guantanamo. That presents a dilemma to the president who must choose whether to take the deal or to push for the policies he wants.

Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND) was one of the majority votes that approved the the bill in the House. Cramer encouraged Obama to sign the new NDAA once it passes the Senate in order to preserve vital American defense interests.

“The world grows more and more dangerous each day,” Cramer said. “Russia continues significant military expansion while China threatens our allies and interests in the Pacific. A stronger, more robust military is needed now more than ever by the United States. I urge President Obama to sign this legislation and ensure our armed forces have the resources they need to keep our nation strong and secure.”

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U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (ND)

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