Washington’s political gridlock has become legendary. The butt of late night jokes, ravaging editorials and general disgust, the ability to get anything done by our government has gotten worse over the last three presidential administrations; but, none of the jokes, rants or feelings of powerlessness could have prepared us for the president vetoing the bipartisan defense bill.
On October 20th, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Without a negotiated budget solution to which everyone finally agrees, we will again return to sequestration-level funding, reducing discretionary spending to its lowest real level in a decade. Members of both parties agree that this will harm national security.”
So Congress negotiated. Finally. Then they passed the Defense Appropriations Bill and sent it to the president for his signature. Where he vetoed it. “I’m going to be sending it back to Congress and my message to them is very simple: ‘Let’s do this right,’” Obama told Reuters. “We’re in the midst of budget discussions. Let’s have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security.”
Although this bill wasn’t perfect – I would love for someone in any party from any time in the history of the United States to show me legislation that is – it has the dubious distinction of being the first defense appropriations bill to ever be vetoed. For 53 consecutive years, this bill has passed. This one, however, was vetoed the day after the Secretary of Defense pleaded for the Senate to pass it.
The president said that the reasons behind the veto include provisions in the bill to use moneys that were intended to fund war spending to be used to fill in for the automatic budget cuts required by sequestration.
Sequestration became the law of the land in 2013 and mandates automatic spending cuts in both the defense and non-defense spending. Sequestration has become a major problem for the military with spending cuts affecting many high cost projects, such as the Ford-class carrier and the F-35 program.
So, what happens next? The bill has been sent back to the Senate, where that body can either override the president’s veto – requiring 67 votes – or revise the bill, pass it and send it back to the president and hope he signs it this time. The override vote is already scheduled for November 5th.
“As president and commander in chief, my first and most important responsibility is keeping the American people safe,” Obama said to reporters after the veto ceremony. “And that means that we make sure that our military is properly funded. … Unfortunately, (this bill) falls woefully short in key areas.”
Those key areas are increases in domestic spending that matches defense spending. At this moment, when Russian adventurism in the Middle East, Chinese militarization in the South Pacific and the Iranian ballistic missile testing are major concerns for American citizens and, especially, the military, our president is playing politics with military spending.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.