White House Veto Threat over Authorization Bill Cites BRAC

Language in the House version of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization bill precluding the Pentagon from planning for a new BRAC round was one of a multitude of provisions that prompted a veto threat from the White House on Tuesday. The statement said the administration “strongly objects” to the provision, which would prohibit DOD from spending any funds to “propose, plan for, or execute” an additional BRAC round. The president’s latest budget proposal calls for holding a base closure round in 2015. “The administration urges the Congress to provide the BRAC authorization as requested, which would allow DOD to rightsize its infrastructure as required to meet the fiscal limitation of statutory spending caps, while providing important assistance to affected communities,” according to the statement. “Without authorization for a new round of BRAC, DOD may not properly align the military’s infrastructure with the needs of our evolving force structure, which is critical to ensuring that limited resources are available for the highest priorities of the warfighter and national security,” it continued. The Office of Management and Budget issued the statement as the defense policy bill, H.R. 1960, is expected to be considered on the House floor starting Wednesday. The statement included a number of other complaints as well, including the measure’s overall funding level, which it said would come at the expense of domestic spending priorities. Language in the bill establishing a new, minimum, active-duty Army end strength of 520,000 as of Sept. 30, 2014, also triggered an objection. “This new minimum level restricts the Army from adjusting end strength to maintain a deliberate and synchronized drawdown plan that maintains operational readiness and accounts for the impact of sequestration across all programs, not just military personnel,” the statement said.

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