The White House has voiced its opposition to the defense funding bill from the House, indicating that if the bill reaches President Biden’s desk, it would be vetoed.
On Monday, the administration released a Statement of Administration Policy concerning the Defense Funding Bill for the fiscal year concluding on Sept. 30, 2023. The statement emphasized the administration’s strong disagreement with the House’s version of the legislation. It recalled the previous debt limit negotiation between President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in May. That agreement ensured steady funding for non-defense programs for the 2023 fiscal year, safeguarding crucial American programs from significant reductions suggested by House Republicans.
However, the current bill, the administration argues, reduces domestic spending more than what was previously agreed upon. The White House criticized Republicans for spending efforts on politically biased legislation.
In July, the House approved its defense bill, proposing a budget of $886 billion for the nation’s military for fiscal 2024. This budget matches President Biden’s defense funding proposal. However, the bill included conservative stances on issues like abortion, transgender rights, diversity, and other contentious subjects, which the White House had previously opposed.
Subsequently, the Senate, led by Democrats, approved its defense bill, also earmarking $886 billion for fiscal 2024.
The next step involves both the House and Senate collaborating to produce a joint bill.
The May agreement also shielded key legislative wins for Biden, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, the PACT Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the infrastructure legislation. The current House defense funding bill, however, contains clauses that could undo sections of the Inflation Reduction Act, as per the administration’s statement.
Furthermore, the administration’s statement points out its disagreement with the House bill’s positions on reproductive health, LGBTQ rights, marriage equality, climate change efforts, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.