President Obama will veto a major defense policy bill Thursday, just two days after the Republican-controlled Congress sent it to his desk.
Obama plans to hold a photo op in the Oval Office when he uses his veto pen on the National Defense Authorization Act, according to his public schedule.
The decision amounts to a public rebuke of congressional Republicans, who warned Obama not to veto the measure as part of a showdown over government spending.
Obama has threatened to veto the bill, which typically receives bipartisan support, primarily because it puts $38 billion into a war fund not subject to budget caps.
The president argues that it irresponsibly skirts spending caps put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act. He has called on Congress to increase both defense and nondefense spending.
“The bill includes this slush fund tactic that’s an irresponsible way to fund our most basic national security priorities,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters last week.
GOP lawmakers have accused Obama of playing politics with national security by promising to veto the defense bill.
“There’s no need — and frankly, no place — for any politics here," Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a signing ceremony on Tuesday. "So I hope the president will do the right thing and sign this bill for our troops and their families.”
Republicans have pledged to attempt to override Obama’s veto, but it’s unlikely they have the votes to do so.
The Senate voted 70-27 to pass the bill, enough to override a veto. Democratic leaders have said, however, that some members would switch their vote to avoid defying the president.
The House vote count, 270-156, would not be enough to override a veto.