Dozens of progressive outside groups are pushing President Obama to veto an annual defense bill over extra war funds.
Thirty-seven groups sent a letter to Obama on Friday voicing their support for his threat to send the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) back to Congress because of the extra $38 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding.
“We believe that the separate funding stream in the form of the Overseas Contingency Operations Account is being used to shield the Pentagon from the pressure meant to be produced by the Budget Control Act caps, while none of that relief is being offered to the other spending bills which fund the vital needs of all Americans, including service members and their families,” the groups—which include Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation and Win Without War—wrote in the letter to the president.
Obama has threatened to veto every NDAA since he became president. The White House, however, has vowed that the president will carry out his threat this year as part of an effort to push Republicans to negotiate a larger budget deal that rolls back budget caps for defense and nondefense spending.
Senate Democrats have vowed to sustain a presidential veto, even though the defense bill passed the upper chamber by a 70-27 vote. Meanwhile, Republicans and outside military organizations have urged Obama to sign the legislation into law saying that it is vital for troops and national security.
But the dozens of outside groups suggested that including the extra war funds, which aren’t subjected to congressionally mandated budget caps, allows lawmakers to continue to avoid tackling sequestration and ignores “the vast majority of opportunities for savings proposed by the Pentagon.”