White House expects Obama to sign defense bill

White House expects Obama to sign defense bill
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President Obama is expected to sign an annual defense policy bill even though he opposes language that hampers the closure of the Guantanamo Bay military prison, an aide said Tuesday.

“There are a number of provisions in the [National Defense Authorization Act] that are important to running and protecting the country,” press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. “That’s why I would expect you will see the president sign the NDAA when it comes to his desk.”

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Obama’s decision to sign the $607 billion legislation “does not reflect a change in our position” on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, Earnest said.

“We have long expressed our disappointment at the repeated effort by Congress to impede the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay,” he added. “The president believes closing that prison is a national security priority.”

The Senate passed a revised version of the NDAA on Tuesday with a veto-proof majority.

Obama vetoed the original bill, largely over concerns it used an extra $38 billion in war funding to skirt spending caps. But the president signed a bipartisan, two-year budget deal last month that resolved the spending fight by raising both defense and non-defense funding.

Some observers, however, believed the president could veto the latest version of the measure over restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay.

The White House is expected to present a plan to Congress in the coming days to close the facility, a long-unfulfilled Obama campaign pledge.