House Passes Defense Authorization Act Despite Veto Threat
House lawmakers voted 325-98 on Thursday to pass the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizing $521.3 billion for national defense programs. This includes $495 billion for the Pentagon base budget, more than $79 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations, and more than $17 billion for nuclear weapons activities.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon of California said that the legislation would support defense programs without curtailing operations. “The bill provides our war fighters, veterans and their families with the care and support they need, deserve, and have earned,” he said. “The legislation guards against achieving false short-term savings at the expense of vital long-term strategic capabilities.”
For over 50 years, the President has always signed the NDAA, but the White House issued a warning that President Barack Obama would veto the bill if it allowed the prison at Guantanamo Bay to remain open. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “Nearly a half a billion dollars per year is an unacceptable price to pay for a facility that wastes our resources, creates friction with our allies, and undermines our standing in the world.” An amendment proposed by Representative Adam Smith of Washington would have created a framework to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by 2016, but it was not included in the bill. According to The Hill, Republican defender of the base, Representative Brad Wenstrup of Ohio said, “Guantanamo Bay is safe and the most appropriate location for detainees to be held”.
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