President Obama has issued a veto threat for the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill (HR 2685). President Obama objects to the $38 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (or"global war on terror") funding included in the bill.
For the past several years, Congress has used OCO funding to get around the caps on defense spending. So is President Obama joining Campaign for Liberty in supporting Real Cuts, Right Now? I am sure you are shocked to learn that the answer is: no. The reason President Obama opposes the defense spending bill because he wants the House to use the OCO funding of the Pentagon's base budget as part of a deal to bust the budget caps for both defense and domestic spending.
From The Hill:
The bill adheres to spending caps put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act that the president has urged Congress to lift but boosts defense spending by putting more money into a war funding account that is not subject to the caps.
It would appropriate base defense spending at the capped level but put an additional $38 billion in a war funding account to meet the president's requested amount for defense spending.
Democrats argue the caps should be lifted for defense and nondefense spending and that $38 billion put into the war fund should instead be put into the Pentagon's base budget.
The president has asked Congress to lift the caps and has threatened to veto any bill that adheres to the caps. The White House has already issued veto threats on House and Senate defense policy bills that authorize Pentagon programs and funding.
Those bills also adhere to the caps and use the war fund to skirt the caps on defense. The House bill passed last month, and the Senate bill will likely be voted on this week.
The White House statement, issued by the Office of Management and Budget, said the bill uses the war fund in ways that leaders in both parties "have made clear are inappropriate."
The statement said the war fund, which provides war-related funding one year at a time, would not provide a "stable, multi-year budget" for defense planning, which is typically five years at a time.
The statement also said using it to lift spending caps on defense ignores "the long-term connection" between national security and economic security, and fails to consider "vital national security functions" carried out at nondefense agencies.
Tags: Real Cuts Right Now, Defense spending