Sen. John Thune
Each year, Congress takes up the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill to authorize funds for our nation’s military and our national defense. This legislation typically passes with strong bipartisan support, and with good reason: Both Democrats and Republicans know the great responsibility we have to the men and women who keep us safe, and we make a habit of working together to try to meet that obligation.
But apparently that responsibility is lost on President Obama. Right now, the president is threatening to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, even though it meets the funding levels he requested. Despite the fact this legislation passed Congress with strong bipartisan support, including the approval of 70 senators, the president is threatening to veto it in part because Congress isn’t granting him more funding for government agencies like the IRS and EPA.
The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes funding for the bonus pay and retirement benefits our soldiers have earned, the equipment and training they need, and the resources our commanders require to confront the threats facing our nation. It also authorizes critical funding to help our allies combat a number of dangerous threats. Signing this bill should be a no-brainer for our nation’s commander in chief.
It is particularly troubling that President Obama would stand in the way of supporting our troops when he has recently conceded so much to one of our nation’s enemies.
This summer, the president approved a nuclear agreement with Iran that is not only unlikely to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon but also furthers Iran’s terrorist activities. The deal the president agreed to gives Iran access to more than $100 billion to fund terrorism and the activities of the brutal Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. It would also lift sanctions on Iranian leaders, including the head of the feared Quds division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Qasem Soleimani, who is responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. Yet the president is willing to veto the funding authorization our soldiers need to defend our nation.
The president’s deal will also allow Iran to funnel more funding to Hezbollah and Hamas to continue their campaign of terror, yet the president is willing to veto additional resources to help our allies, including funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system for Israel. President Obama is willing to veto funding authorization for advanced weapons systems for U.S. forces, yet he agreed to a nuclear deal with Iran that gives Iran access not only to conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, which are commonly used to deliver nuclear warheads, but also to advanced nuclear centrifuges, which will put Iran in an even better position to develop a nuclear weapon.
In short, the president has agreed to a deal that will provide significant aid to a country whose leader continues to describe America as “the Great Satan,” yet despite being commander in chief of our armed forces, he is threatening to deny our men and women in uniform the resources they need to carry out their mission. After all he has conceded to Iran, it is unconscionable that the president would even consider vetoing funding authorization for the U.S. military.
In the next few days, I hope the president will rethink his veto strategy and join Republicans and Democrats in Congress to support this bill. He owes our military nothing less.