White House threatens veto of House GOP's military spending bill

The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a military spending bill that is slated to come to the House floor this week.

The Obama administration said it is able to accept most of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, but has adopted a policy of rejecting all 12 House annual appropriations bills until Republicans abandon their budget, authored by Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP rep: Virginia defeat 'a referendum' on Trump administration After Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Pence: Praying 'takes nothing away' from trying to figure out causes behind mass shooting MORE (R-Wis.). It has also threatened to veto a Commerce and Justice spending bill that the House passed earlier in May.

The House GOP budget would cut 2013 spending by an additional $19 billion compared to the caps in last August’s debt-ceiling deal, while also raising defense spending.

“The appropriations bill for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies funds critical priorities, but given the House's top-line discretionary level for FY 2013, enactment of H.R. 5854 would require harmful cuts to other critical priorities such as education, research and development, job training, and health care as other appropriations bills are constructed,” the White House said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT
The White House also took issue with several details of the bill, objecting to provisions that would extend the two-year civilian pay freeze. Instead, President Obama wants to raise pay by 0.5 percent for federal civilian workers next year.

It also sides with unions in opposing language that would block project labor agreements (PLAs) from being used on federal projects.

“PLAs can provide structure and stability to large construction projects, and allow agencies to complete these projects more efficiently. They can also help ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing workplace safety and health, equal employment opportunity, and labor and employment standards,” the administration stated.

The Military Construction bill comes to the House Rules Committee on Wednesday night as leaders prepare it for floor action. It will be followed by Homeland Security and Energy and Water spending bills.

The House Appropriation Committee has already cleared a State, Foreign Operations bill and will likely pass a Legislative Branch bill on Thursday. 

The Senate is proceeding to consider spending bills based on the August debt-ceiling deal. The competing approaches make it likely that a continuing resolution will be needed to extend current policies before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. Final resolution on 2013 spending could result in passage of a giant omnibus package after the election.