Marines set up perimeter security during a fast rope exercise at Auxiliary Airfield 2, Yuma, Ariz.

Marines set up perimeter security during a fast rope exercise at Auxiliary Airfield 2, Yuma, Ariz. Cpl. Summer Dowding / U.S. Marine Corps

Senate Moves Defense Policy Bill One Step Closer to Obama’s Veto Pen

But enough Democrats got on board to give Republicans the votes to override it in the Senate.

The Senate has moved the annual defense policy bill one step closer to passage and President Barack Obama’s desk, where he has promised to veto it. But the upper chamber did so with a somewhat surprising amount of Democratic support, indicating the Republican majority has enough votes to override the threatened veto.

As the vote trickled by on Tuesday, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., had told Defense One: “The question is, is there going to be 60 votes.”

But the Senate advanced the fiscal year 2016 bill, known as the NDAA, by a vote of 73 to 26. Twenty-one Democrats voted for the $612 billion bill, despite the Obama administration’s opposition to what they call a “gimmick” — using the Pentagon’s war chest, the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, or OCO, to increase military spending while skirting the budget caps. Only one Republican, presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, Ky., voted nay.

The vote on final passage — which could come as soon as Wednesday — will likely see less Democratic support. But Tuesday’s count suggested proponents have comfortably secured the necessary 67 votes, or two-thirds majority, to override Obama’s veto.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had hinted before the vote that when the president ultimately kicks the bill back to Congress, Democrats will fall in the party line. “My Democrats, our Democrats, have stated without any question if it comes time that we sustain a presidential veto, that will be done,” he said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee who shepherded the bill through conference negotiations with the House, reminded colleagues the NDAA is a military spending blueprint, and doesn’t actually appropriate any funds.

“Don’t say you support the men and women in uniform, come to the floor and say that, and then vote against this bill,” he said.

Earlier this summer Democrats vowed the real fight over defense spending would occur with the appropriations bills and budget. Having passed a short-term spending fix to keep the government running, in the past days Democrats have also resumed lobbying against the final NDAA negotiated with the House.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2 Senate Democrat, argued Tuesday that passing the NDAA locks in what’s essentially a dodge by Republicans to avoid the broader budget negotiations so badly needed.

“We want to give our troops the very best treatment, but we certainly don’t want to shortchange the other side of the government, the non-defense side, and that’s what the budget negotiations are all about,” he said. “So Republican after Republican comes to the floor and says the Democrats just don’t care about the military. It’s not true.”

The Republican majority in both chambers, for their part, has pushed hard against Obama’s veto threat, invoking national security and support for the troops.

“This is not the time to flip-flop on the men and women who protect us,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “This is not the time to flip-flop on America’s defense. Certainly not in this age of daunting global threats.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said in a statement after the House passed the NDAA conference report Thursday, “The only redline the President is willing to enforce is vetoing the bill that pays or troops. Is that the legacy he really seeks?”

In the end, while revealing more divisions among Democrats than their leadership may like, the Senate’s actions this week may be moot — while Senate Republicans may have enough votes to override a veto, Thornberry and his Republican colleagues in the House do not. The House passed the NDAA 270 to 156 — meaning Obama still looks to have the final say, and it’s back to the drawing board.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.