President Obama is likely to follow through on his threat to veto spending bills that lock in federal spending caps, including a defense policy bill the Senate is now considering, said the administration’s former Pentagon comptroller, Bob Hale.
“The president’s been pretty adamant that he won’t accept it and he will veto the bills. He just issued a strong veto threat on the Senate Armed Services Committee’s authorization bill,” Hale said Thursday in an interview with The Hill.
“It was quite clear,” he said, referring to an Office of Management and Budget statement issued Tuesday that said “senior advisors would recommend to the President that he veto” the bill if the bill is presented in its current form.
“They’re not tying his hands, but it’s a pretty strong statement,” added Hale, who served as the Pentagon comptroller from 2009 through last June, and is now a fellow at Booz Allen.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest also reiterated the president’s opposition on Thursday during a briefing.
“The president has made clear he is not going to sign legislation that adheres to those sequester levels,” he said.
Republicans are currently trying to advance spending bills that adhere to the caps but boost defense spending by stuffing additional money in a war fund not subject to the caps. Democrats object to the move, and say the caps should be lifted for non-defense spending, too.