WH hints Obama won’t veto defense bill over Guantanamo

The White House hinted Tuesday that President Obama won’t veto a defense funding bill even if it includes language prohibiting the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

"This has been a genuine bipartisan process, and that's the way that this process has worked in the past, and we're pleased to see that that's the way that it appears to be working again this year," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.


"The nature of these kinds of bipartisan efforts, however, though, is that the legislation is essentially a compromise, which means that neither side gets everything that they want."

Earnest said the administration anticipated the final bill would include a number of "disappointing" provisions, including limits on the president's ability to close Guantanamo Bay.

"That's something that we have been, frankly, pretty critical of in the past," Earnest said. "If it's included in there, again, it's something we'll be critical of again."

Pressed on whether the president would veto the legislation — as he has threatened, but ultimately declined to do in the past — Earnest sidestepped the question.

"Well, we're going to evaluate the whole package," he said, acknowledging that "in the past, we have gone ahead and signed legislation that included this language."

The White House said it was encouraged that the defense bill will reportedly include an extension of the authority to train and equip Syrian rebel groups battling both the Bashar Assad regime and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). And, Earnest said, the administration applauded the inclusion of provisions to combat sexual assault in the military.

But the spokesman expressed concerns that the package did not include budget cuts proposed by the Pentagon.

"I don't know if you could do more to micromanage the Pentagon than to refuse to include the budgetary reforms that our civilian and military leadership believe are critically important to the military being able to do their job," Earnest said.