Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Carter Could Recommend Veto of 2017 Defense Bill

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is waiting to see whether Congress uses war funds in the 2017 defense budget before he decides to recommend that the president veto it, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said Monday.
During the last month, the House and Senate have passed their versions of the annual National Defense Authorization Act. Though each chamber has passed an overall budget of $610 billion, the House version shifts $18 billion from a fund dedicated to war spending to pay for increased troops, aircraft and shipbuilding, a maneuver that Carter criticized as "gambling with funding for our troops."
Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is pushing the plan to use the $18 billion to address military readiness by tapping into the Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, fund to pay for it. This fund is not subject to the spending caps set by sequestration.
The war spending account pays for increased operations against the Islamic State group and increased U.S. troops and equipment in Europe. If the OCO fund runs out before the fiscal year ends, Congress would have to vote to approve additional war funding to replace the $18 billion used in the NDAA.
The Senate version of the bill does not use OCO funds.  more