Vetoing Defense [UPDATED, BUMPED]

Well, he did it.


It’s your move, Mr. Ryan.


He's got his. (AP photo)

He’s got his.
(AP photo)

President Obama is holding the country’s national defense hostage unless he gets his way on domestic spending.

You may think that’s an exaggeration, but it isn’t, as Justin T. Johnson explains:

The White House has also objected to a budget gimmick Congressional Republicans used to increase spending in the NDAA. Objecting to budget gimmicks is righteous in theory, but the White House only seems to care about proper budget procedure when it is a tool for cutting defense spending. It’s clear from numerous White House statements that the president’s core objection is not with how defense spending would be increased, but rather with the fact that Congress is willing to increase the defense budget and leave the rest of so-called discretionary spending flat.

The White House has also objected to provisions in the NDAA that bar closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay and transferring its terrorist detainees elsewhere. Unlike non-defense spending, this is an issue that pertains to the actual bill. But it’s not a new one.

Mr. Obama has threatened to veto every NDAA Congress has sent him, often due to Guantanamo Bay restrictions. In the end, he signed all the previous bills. Clearly, the president does not like the Gitmo language, but he has lived with it in the past, making it unlikely to be sufficient justification for a veto this time around.

If President Obama decides to veto the defense bill it will be an historic event: the first time an NDAA was vetoed primarily because of an issue that the bill itself cannot address.


Do you think he’d actually go through with his veto threat? I think he absolutely would — but two can play at this game.

If Speaker Apparent Ryan wants to impress his doubters and twist the President’s tail, he could accomplish both with one bill. Provide for modest increases in the non-defense discretionary spending Obama is demanding, paid for entirely by zeroing out the President’s lavish Air Force One and travel budgets.

Zero. Them. Out.


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