Boehner to sign defense bill, sparking showdown with Obama

Boehner to sign defense bill, sparking showdown with Obama

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE (R-Ohio) announced Monday that he will sign the 2016 defense policy bill on Tuesday, setting in motion the 10 days that President Obama will have to follow through on a promised veto.

John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner‘Lone wolf’ characterization of mass murderers is the epitome of white privilege Pelosi urges Ryan to create select committee on gun violence Ex-congressman Michael Grimm formally announces bid for old seat MORE's signing will be attended by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.), respective Senate and House Armed Services Committee Chairmen John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts The VA's woes cannot be pinned on any singular administration Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (R-Ariz.) and Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), and other lawmakers in a theater vignette meant to underline the importance of the legislation.

ADVERTISEMENT
President Obama has threatened to veto the bill, which authorizes Pentagon funding and programs for 2016, because of a larger spending fight with Republicans. GOP leaders want to make the veto as public and painful for the president as possible. 

"The bipartisan legislation will provide the resources for a strong national defense in a fiscally responsible way," the GOP said in a news release announcing the signing.

After the bill is signed by Boehner and is delivered to the White House, Obama will have 10 days — not including Sunday — to veto the bill while Congress is in session, or else it goes into effect.

Alternatively, if the president does not sign the bill and cannot return it to Congress because it is out of session before the 10 days are up, then the bill will not become law, in what is known as a pocket veto.  

Republican defense hawks argue the president's veto is misplaced, since the legislation does not actually appropriate funding. Furthermore, they argue that the bill authorizes an amount the White House is asking for, at $612 billion. 

However, Republicans would also leave spending caps in place on defense and nondefense spending, but put extra money into a war fund that's not subject to the caps. That would reach the desired $612 billion level, but the administration objects to the method.

Defense officials say if a new defense policy bill is not passed, it will rely on the 2015 bill, as long as there is funding. 

However, if there is no funding for 2016 by Dec. 11, they say the Pentagon will have to furlough at least 400,000 of its approximately 700,000 civilian workers, and hundreds of thousands of civilian contractors. 

Troops would still have to report for duty, but would not get paid until funding is approved.

If a budget compromise is reached, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could be passed shortly after, according to lawmakers. 

It is not clear what could happen if a current short-term emergency spending measure, known as a continuing resolution, is extended for a full year, continuing 2015 levels into 2016. 

In that case, even if a 2016 NDAA was passed, programs would be funded at 2015 levels — about $41 billion less than requested for the new year.

 

-- Updated at 6:30 p.m.