Thornberry: ‘Unbelievable’ That Obama Would Threaten to Veto Defense Bill Supporting Troops

White House press secretary: ‘If the president got this bill, he'd veto it’

Mac Thornberry
Mac Thornberry / AP
September 30, 2015

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R., Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, assailed President Obama on Wednesday for his continued threats to veto the annual defense policy bill that helps provide equipment, vehicles, and benefits to troops.

Thornberry said in a statement that it was "unbelievable" that Obama would reject the $611.9 billion legislation, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

"It is unbelievable to me that an American President would threaten to veto a defense bill that supports our troops and gives him additional tools to use against aggressors, especially at a time when the world situation is spiraling out of control from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and South Asia.  This is a time to stand together for our nation’s security, rather than play cheap political games."

Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, said at a press briefing Wednesday that "if the president got this bill, he'd veto it." While the legislation would authorize the same amount of defense spending as the White House proposal, it also shifts money to an overseas war fund in order to leave sequestration caps in place—an outcome staunchly opposed by Democrats that want to boost domestic spending.

It remains unclear whether Obama and both parties in Congress would be able to negotiate a compromise spending bill that would raise the caps on both defense and domestic appropriations.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday that it would be a "failure of the president" if he vetoed the authorization act supporting troops.