The head of the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday blasted President Obama’s threats to veto recent defense budget proposals as undermining national security efforts and emboldening international adversaries looking for U.S. weakness.
The comments from Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, at an Atlantic Council speech step up Republican attacks on the president over his opposition to their fiscal 2016 funding plans, which conservatives have argued are the bare minimum needed to keep the military operational.
“Nothing would send a stronger message (to adversaries overseas) than for the president to sign the defense bills he has asked for,” Thornberry said. “We have a chance to meet the lower ragged edge of what it takes to defend the country, or to play politics.”
Obama has threatened to veto the budget measures over Republicans’ refusal to remove spending caps on a host of government agencies, instead getting around military money limits by adding extra funds to the temporary overseas war account.
Hill Republicans have seized on that stance as “blocking pay raises for the military to get more money for the Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency.”