House to vote on defense bill that Obama threatens to veto

1 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Gov’t Shutdown Averted: House Approves Stopgap Spending Bill (UPDATE: Obama Signs).

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is sending legislation to President Barack Obama that would head off the threat of a government shutdown at midnight Wednesday.President Obama will veto the annual defense policy bill, the White House said Wednesday as it escalated a clash over spending into a major war-time deadlock that threatens everything from troops’ pay raises to warship building plans.

Republican negotiators on Capitol Hill reached a deal Tuesday on the policy bill, authorizing the Pentagon to tap into emergency war funds to cover a budget hole in regular defense operations. Approval of such stopgap measures used to be routine, but debate this year was delayed by tea party lawmakers who demanded that the must-pass bill be used to punish Planned Parenthood, stripping it of federal money because of its practice of supplying tissue from aborted fetuses for scientific research.

Obama, though, says he won’t accept a boost in defense spending unless Congress also busts the budget caps and approves an equal hike in domestic programs. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the threat “shameful” at a time of increasing international dangers, and said Mr. Obama was misdirecting his anger over spending. “What this legislation does do, among other things, is ban torture, increase the pay for our men and women in uniform, strengthen sexual assault prevention and response, extend retirement benefits to hundreds of thousands of service members, and allow the president to continue transferring detainees to foreign countries,” Mr.

But this year, with the GOP now in control of the House and Senate, Republican defense hawks said the cuts are hitting the Pentagon too deeply, and said threatened to withhold support for the 2016 budget until defense got a boost. Unable to pass a bill without the hawks’ votes, GOP leaders relented — but added the funding as emergency war-spending, which isn’t counted against the sequester caps.

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