WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate moved forward Tuesday on a sweeping, $612 billion defense policy bill despite a presidential veto threat stemming from larger budget disputes that have hamstrung Washington.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate moved forward Tuesday on a sweeping, $612 billion defense policy bill despite a presidential veto threat stemming from larger budget disputes that have hamstrung Washington.
The vote was 73-26, 13 votes more than necessary to break any filibuster. The Senate is expected to pass the measure Wednesday and send it to President Barack Obama.
The Obama administration has pressed Congress to add money for defense and domestic agencies above the limits imposed by the 2011 budget deal. The administration is threatening to veto the defense bill over how Congress added money — for the military only.
Lawmakers increased defense spending by padding a separate war-fighting account with an extra $38.3 billion. That account is not subject to spending limits Congress and the White House agreed to in 2011 for defense and domestic programs.
The president's press secretary, Josh Earnest, called it an "irresponsible way to fund our national defense priorities." Defense Secretary Ash Carter has referred to the action as a "gimmick" that "attempts to evade the question of overall fiscal responsibility."
The defense policy bill is one of the few bipartisan measures in Congress that has readily become law for more than a half-century, but Obama's veto threat jeopardizes the legislation.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said it would be "shameful" for the president to veto the bill. Republicans have argued that the measure helps the troops and it would be short-sighted to stop the legislation in light of national security threats.
The policy bill maintains restrictions on transferring terror suspects out of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; provides a 1.3 percent pay increase to service members; authorizes lethal assistance to Ukraine forces fighting Russian-backed rebels; extends the ban on torture to the CIA; and authorizes the president's request of $715 million to help Iraqi forces fight Islamic State militants.