White House says Obama will veto defense authorization bill

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2015 1:18 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday said that President Barack Obama will veto the $612 billion defense authorization bill if it is passed in Congress because of the "irresponsible way" it boosts military spending.

Democrats objected to the use of $90 billion in special war funds in the legislation to allow the Department of Defense to avoid mandatory "sequestration" budget cuts.

"That's an irresponsible way to fund our national defense priorities," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a news briefing. "If the president got this bill, he'd veto it."

U.S. Representative Adam Smith, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said he agreed with Obama that the bill was bad for national security.

"If passed, the president should veto this bill, and Congress should fix it. That is what is good for national security," he said in a statement.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Julia Edwards; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Sandra Maler, Lisa Lambert and Alan Crosby)