On Wednesday, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law.
He signed the bill despite the fact that it bans him from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to detention centers in the United States.
The President took the unusual step of writing a signing statement to express his feelings on the bill.
“I am, however, deeply disappointed that the Congress has again failed to take productive action toward closing the detention facility at Guantanamo,” he said. “Maintaining this site, year after year, is not consistent with our interests as a nation and undermines our standing in the world.”
The President went so far as to imply that this NDAA violated the Constitution on this issue.
“The executive branch must have the flexibility, with regard to the detainees who remain at Guantanamo, to determine when and where to prosecute them, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests, and when and where to transfer them consistent with our national security and our humane treatment policy,” he wrote. “Under certain circumstances, the provisions in this bill concerning detainee transfers would violate constitutional separation of powers principles.”
The reason why President Obama ultimately signed the bill is because it contains reforms to military pensions, equipment acquisition and it makes the process of adopting animals used by the military easier after they have completed their service.
“I am therefore signing this annual defense authorization legislation because it includes vital benefits for military personnel and their families, authorities to facilitate ongoing operations around the globe, and important reforms to the military retirement system, as well as partial reforms to other military compensation programs,” Obama said in his statement.
In all, the bill is a colossal $607 billion.
[The Hill] [Military Times] [Al Jazeera America]