The Senate next week will continue, and perhaps finish, work on its 2016 Pentagon policy bill. The House could take up its defense appropriations bill, according to a senior aide. As both measures move toward final passage, Republicans essentially are calling President Barack Obama’s bluff. That’s because the White House continues to warn that unless members change major provisions opposed by Democrats and Obama, the president will veto the final 2016 defense bills. So keep an eye on floor proceedings for any amendments aimed at avoiding what could become a very messy summer.
Issue: OCO’s Base Funds
Background: Republican leaders in both chambers added $38 billion to the Obama administration’s $50.9 billion overseas contingency operations (OCO) account. The idea was to appease vocal defense hawks by giving the Pentagon more monies, even if no one really likes allocating base-budget funds within the war account, which is not subject to the 2011 Budget Control Act’s spending caps. Obama and his top budget lieutenants have said for months he would veto any spending legislation that adheres to the defense and domestic caps, or any defense bill with additional dollars if there was no domestic hike on the horizon.
Source: Issue Tracker: Summer Showdown