The House of Representatives voted to pass their version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Friday, despite solid opposition from Democrats. If the votes stay the same however, Republicans would not have enough support to override a presidential veto.
The crux of Democratic opposition centers around a $38 billion increase in funding through the “Overseas Contingency Operations” fund, which doesn’t count against the budget and is therefore not subject to spending caps set by Congress in 2011 to avoid a debt crises. Overall, the House NDAA bill would allocate $612 billion federal dollars for the Pentagon in 2016.
In addition, the bill includes provisions which make it harder for the government to transfer prisoners out of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, a pledge of Barack Obama’s campaign in 2011; reforms retirement benefits for military personnel by establishing 401k plans and phasing out the pension system; cuts red-tape for out-sourcing contracts; calls for billions of dollars to purchase Lockheed Martin F35s, and Boeing F-18 SuperHornets.
More partisan controversy occurred on Friday when an amendment by Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) passed which cut out original language in the bill to let the Pentagon study the effects of letting Deferred Action immigrants (DREAMers) enlist in the military. The amendment barely passed in a 221-202 vote.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said in response to Brooks’ amendment that, “This is yet another example of anti-immigrant attitude on the part of House Republicans.”
Now, it’s the Senate’s turn to pass their own version of NDAA, which is expected to be less hawkish than the House version. The final compromise version has to be more bi-partisan in order to survive a presidential veto.