Ahead of veto, Armed Services chairmen blast Obama

The chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees slammed President Obama on Thursday, hours before Obama's photo-op to veto a defense bill.

“Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are performing vital missions to protect our nation,” Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Major Russia weapons test stokes tensions Unnamed law enforcement banned under the new NDAA Lobbying world MORE (R-Texas) and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPoll: Sinema approval higher among Arizona Republicans than Democrats Meghan McCain: COVID-19 battle made me doubt if nation will recover from pandemic Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship  MORE (R-Ariz.) said in a joint statement. “They want and need support. They do not care what budget category that support comes from. That is a Washington game. All they care about is that their mission is fully resourced.”

The White House announced Thursday morning that Obama would veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) later in the afternoon.


Obama and most Democrats oppose the bill because it puts $38 billion into a war fund not subject to budget caps. They argue the tactic irresponsibly skirts the budget restrictions and want the caps to be lifted on both defense and nondefense spending.

Republicans argue the veto threat is misplaced since the NDAA is a policy bill, not an appropriations bill.

In their joint statement, McCain and Thornberry reiterated that and added that the bill would allow Congress to adjust the budget categories should there be a future budget agreement.

They also highlighted some policies that the bill covers, including reforming the Pentagon’s acquisition system and providing Ukrainians with lethal aid.

“At a time when crises around the world have never been greater, and when U.S. global leadership has never been weaker, this veto will only intensify the challenges we face while putting vital missions in danger,” they wrote.

McCain and Thornberry are scheduled Thursday afternoon to hold a press conference with veterans serving in Congress to further discuss Obama’s veto.

The House has already scheduled a vote on Nov. 5 to try to override the veto, according to Thornberry and McCain’s statement. The House vote on the bill, 270-156, would not be enough to override a veto.

“As we prepare for that vote, we will continue to urge our colleagues to do what the president did not,” McCain and Thornberry wrote, “put the best interests of our troops and of our country’s security ahead of politics."