Politics

Obama defends DOD veto as a move against 'gimmicks'

In an unusual but not unprecedented ceremony, President Obama on Thursday vetoed the annual defense policy bill before reporters in the Oval Office, and defended his decision as one aimed at forcing Congress to find a defense bill that doesn't rely on "gimmicks."

"As president and commander-in-chief, my first and most important responsibility is keeping the American people safe," Obama said before rejecting congressional Republicans' vision of how to authorize Defense programs. The bill is not an appropriations bill, meaning it doesn't actually spend any money; it merely lays out how to cover the Pentagon's expenses.

After saying that Republicans took some steps with which he agrees, Obama said that it "falls woefully short in key areas." It would not end sequestration and "resorts to gimmicks" to get around those spending limitations, he said.

Specifically, the bill would shift $38 billion from regular operations and maintenance accounts to a war funding account that's exempt from the Budget Control Act of 2011's spending caps. Obama wants to end sequestration, but across the entire government, not just for the Pentagon.

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