Ryan sends defense policy bill to White House

Ryan sends defense policy bill to White House
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House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.) on Tuesday signed the 2016 defense policy bill, which now heads to the president's desk for his signature for the second time. 

Ryan hailed the bipartisan bill, which authorizes $607 billion for the Pentagon, as "the kind of legislation that gives our armed forces the tools they need to be agile, to be effective, to be ready." 


The president had vetoed the bill the first time, over its authorization of the use of a war fund to bypass spending caps on defense spending, without also lifting the caps on non-defense spending. 

The bill was sent through Congress again after the White House and Republicans reached a two-year budget deal that would lift spending caps on both defense and non-defense spending. 

Ryan said the bill included two "very important" provisions in particular. 

"Number one, this bill requires that the president come up with a plan to actually defeat ISIS," he said. "Number two, this bill says that the president cannot send Guantanamo Bay detainees to America." 

The bill would impose tougher restrictions on Guantanamo Bay detainee transfers and continue to ban any transfers of detainees to the U.S. However, the White House has indicated the president will sign the bill anyway. 

It's not clear what the administration's next steps are to carry out the president's promise to close the facility. 

The White House is due to submit a plan to Congress on how it would close the facility. Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced it had transferred five Yemeni detainees to the United Arab Emirates. 

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who drafted the provisions, was at the signing, along with a handful of other Republican House Armed Services Committee members.  

Ryan, who was known as more of a fiscal hawk before taking the position as House Speaker, has since declared himself a "defense hawk."

"The world is a very dangerous place. We have just seen recent evidence of that. And that is why we need a 21st century military that's capable of providing the kind of American leadership that is needed in the world," he said before signing the bill.

"With this bill, we are stepping up to the plate in doing just that." 

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), who crafted the bill along with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), said he hoped the president would do the "right thing" and sign the bill this time. 

"The most important part of any defense bill is what it does to our people, and this bill gives us greater capability to continue to recruit and retain the top quality of people that we need and take better care of them," Thornberry said.

"So I hope the president does the right thing this week and signs this bill."

Thornberry, who was given the pen used to sign the bill, presented it as a gift to a committee staffer who is leaving this week. 

The bill's signing marks the earliest the bill has been signed in recent years.