WASHINGTON — House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry on Tuesday downplayed a White House veto threat of defense legislation that proposes to increase military spending.
The White House has said President Barack Obama would veto any legislation passed by the GOP-controlled Congress that ups military spending but leaves in place domestic spending caps.
“He’s threatened to veto our bill pretty much every year at some stage in the process,” Thornberry, R-Texas, told reporters Tuesday. “What we authorized and what he requested are exactly the same.”
Thornberry was referring to Obama’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, which was inflated by GOP leaders from $50.9 billion to $89 billion to appease defense hawks.
“My focus is on matching the lowest ragged edge” of what Pentagon officials say is needed to defend the country,” he added, “and we’ve done that.”
So far, no member has filed an amendment that could be considered on the floor this week as part of the House’s work on Thornberry’s panel’s 2016 national defense authorization act (NDAA) that would shrink the war fund.
But that doesn’t mean one won’t emerge before the legislation is called up, perhaps as soon as Wednesday evening.
“I’m sure there are a variety of people on all sides that will be looking to make some political hay out of a bill that is of this nature,” Thornberry said. “We’re going to let the House work its will this week.”