Analysts say this year’s defense bill contains a few of the most significant reforms to the Department of Defense in decades, including measures to cut the Pentagon bureaucracy and modify retirement benefits. Carter later signed Congress’s second proposal, which did not fund the carrier.
The measure, a compromise negotiated from separate House and Senate bills, has already been approved by the House.
Obama has repeatedly threatened to veto the act because it leaves in place spending caps known as sequestration. John McCain, Arizona Republican and chairman of the Armed Service Committee. “It does not spend a dollar, and it certainly can not raise the budget caps or deliver an agreement to fund the government”, McCain said in a statement.
Johnson said the “interesting question” is whether the Senate will be able to muster a veto-proof majority. It cleared a procedural hurdle Tuesday in the Senate in a 73-26 vote and is expected to pass on Wednesday. But Tuesday’s count suggested proponents have comfortably secured the necessary 67 votes, or two-thirds majority, to override Obama’s veto.
“Today’s markup is not a serious exercise in legislating”, said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. “Based on the outcome of the vote last week and the bipartisan opposition to the budget gimmick in the bill, the possibility of overriding the president’s veto is highly unlikely”, he said. While many Republicans didn’t disagree, they said it was worth doing to meet the needs of the military at a time of great unrest and uncertainty around the globe. Come to think of it, in a flawless world, the Obama administration would never have countenanced the sequester’s trade-off between domestic and military spending on the (mistaken) bet that Republicans cared so much about the latter that they would agree to more of the former.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had hinted before the vote that when the president ultimately kicks the bill back to Congress, Democrats will fall in the party line.
Among other things, this year’s bill provides a 1.3 percent pay increase to service members; authorizes lethal assistance to Ukraine forces fighting Russian-backed rebels; extends the ban on torture to the Central Intelligence Agency; and authorizes the president’s request of $715 million to help Iraqi forces fight Islamic State militants. Obama also is upset about provisions in the bill that would make it harder for him to transfer suspected terror detainees out of the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of his plan to close it before he leaves office. Defense programs often rely on multi-year authorizations and long-term planning.