Boehner signs defense bill in face of Obama veto threat

Boehner signs defense bill in face of Obama veto threat
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Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner won't say whether he'd back Biden over Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Amash's critics miss the fact that partisanship is the enemy of compromise MORE (R-Ohio) signed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday, sending it to the president's desk for an expected veto.

BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner won't say whether he'd back Biden over Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Amash's critics miss the fact that partisanship is the enemy of compromise MORE, who signed the bill after a short press conference, accused the president of playing politics with national security by threatening to veto the legislation.

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"I recognize the president wants to make a point about spending, but there are certainly ways to do that that don’t involve putting our troops in the middle," Boehner said.

"And there’s no need — and frankly, no place — for any politics here. So I hope the president will do the right thing and sign this bill for our troops and their families,” he said.  

Senate President Pro Tempore Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah) also signed the bill, which will head over to the White House as early as Tuesday. The president has 10 days to veto it. 

"I'm frankly stunned that the president is suggesting he might veto it," said Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch Funding a strong defense of our nation's democratic process can't wait The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants MORE (R-Ky.). "If he does, I hope we will override his veto.”

The White House opposes the bill, since it would leave spending caps on defense and non-defense spending but boost defense spending through the use of a separate war fund.

Although the higher defense spending would meet the president's 2016 request, the White House argues that non-defense spending should be raised, too. 

Critics of the administration's approach argues that the veto should be directed to the defense appropriations bill, which actually funds the Pentagon. 

"This bill is a policy bill. It doesn't spend a single dime," said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMichelle Obama weighs in on Trump, 'Squad' feud: 'Not my America or your America. It's our America' Meghan McCain shares story of miscarriage Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-Ariz.). "The veto threat is about one thing and one thing only, and that is about politics."

McCain said the bill supports more fighter aircraft, shipbuilding, cyber defenses and assistance for Ukraine. 

"More importantly, it maintains the quality of life for our service members and their families, while addressing the needs of our wounded, ill and injured service members," he said. 

McCain said the bill also enhances protection against military sexual assault, modernizes the military retirement system, includes sweeping reforms of the Pentagon's acquisition system and bans torture, among many other provisions. 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) also blasted the veto threat. 

"This is an inside Washington political game at the expense of our nation’s security and support for our troops,” he said.