The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 was vetoed by the President on October 22, 2015. The bill is dead unless Congress can override it. This bill is one that went through the regular order process. The House took up the bill and allowed amendments to the bill. The Senate took up their version to the bill and also allowed amendments. Since the two chambers had differences they assigned people to a joint conference committee to resolve differences in each chamber’s version of the bill. The report from the joint conference committee passed in the Senate 70-27. 20 Democrats and Angus King-I from Maine joined with 49 Republicans to pass the bill. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Bernie Sanders joined with 24 Democrats against passage. Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Pat Roberts did not vote. 67 votes are needed in the Senate to override and they should have enough votes to override.
There is a slight problem with the House overriding this veto. The report from the joint conference committee passed in the House 270-156. 37 Democrats joined with 233 Republicans to pass the bill. 10 conservative Republicans joined with 146 Democrats against passage. Speaker Boehner and 3 other Republicans along with 5 Democrats did not vote.
If a vote to override is taken, and all 247 Republicans along with the 37 Democrats that voted for the bill vote to override, then those 284 votes are still 6 votes shy of the needed number to override.
This bill is not a perfect bill for conservatives, and the process it went through to get to final passage did cause a lot of compromises to occur. I do not criticize the conservatives that voted against passage because of the extra padding of slush money put into the overseas contingency operations account, but that is not the reason that Obama vetoed this bill. Charles Krauthammer did an excellent summation on Fox Special Report.
This is a a president openly holding hostage the funds that a declining military being squeezed on all sides, desperately needs, that he knows and everyone knows, and that he would approve if he had his way on domestic.
Holding it hostage, knowing it’s needed, simply because the Republicans won’t give him what he wants in extra spending on domestic. I think that’s scandalous for any commander-in-chief to do.
Krauthammer is right that this is scandalous. Obama’s using the military as a political pawn the same way he has used an approval of an oil pipeline or approval to improve a harbor port. The military is not and should never be considered political. They are not the Republican or Democrat military. They are the American military. I just wish all of the Republicans and at least 6 more Democrats could see how wrong this is, and override his veto. The override would also make everyone believe once again that the US Congress is truly an equal and separate branch of our government instead of a feckless collection of wusses afraid of being called a racists for not letting Obama get his way.