White House threatens veto of defense bill

While the fight over detaining U.S. citizens is playing out again on the Senate floor this year, the Office of Management and Budget statement on the defense bill only focused on restrictions transferring Guantanamo detainees, which have also been included in past bills.

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The OMB statement noted that “when he signed past versions of this legislation, the president objected to the restrictions carried forward by section 1031,” the section that restricts using funds to transfer detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison.

While the detainee issue is only one of numerous objections laid out by the White House, it’s unlikely to hold up the defense authorization bill amid a lame-duck session with multiple big-ticket items to tackle.

There was nothing in this year’s SAP that compared to last year’s veto threat, which stated: “Any bill that challenges or constrains the president's critical authorities to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists, and protect the Nation would prompt the President's senior advisers to recommend a veto.”

The Obama administration also threatened to veto the House version of the bill when it was on the floor in May.

In addition to Guantanamo transfers, the administration issued a laundry list of issues that it opposed in the Senate’s bill.

The White House objected to the Senate removing TRICARE fee increases, placing limitations on Air Guard cuts and funding upgrades to the M-1 Abrams tank. 

The administration is also opposed to the bill’s restriction on funds for the Medium Extended Air Defense System program and restrictions placed on foreign aid to Pakistan.