National Defense

Trump Administration Threatens Veto Over Defense Bill That Only Spends $733 Billion

The White House is asking Congress to spend $750 billion on the military this coming fiscal year.


President Donald Trump is threatening to veto a massive defense spending increase for not being quite spendy enough.

On Tuesday, the White House issued a policy statement regarding House Democrats' 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets defense spending levels for the coming fiscal year. Democrats in the House are proposing a $733 billion defense budget, an increase of $17 billion over last year's NDAA.

That spending boost is nevertheless $17 billion shy of what the Trump administration is requesting. Anything less than $750 billion, the administration argues, will leave America's military unprepared for the security challenges it faces.

"The level of funding that would be authorized by the bill," reads Tuesday's policy statement "would not fully support critical national security priorities." If the bill "were presented to the President in its current form, his advisors would recommend that he veto it," it adds.

The Senate passed a $750 billion NDAA in late June with wide bipartisan support. Only eight senators voted against the measure.

The House's slightly leaner NDAA would give the White House less than it wants for things like new nuclear weapons and missile defense systems. But without that money, the administration warns, the U.S. is signaling it's "incapable of adjusting its nuclear posture despite a worsening nuclear environment."

The White House also objects to a number of policy changes House Democrats have included in their NDAA. This includes a prohibition on the Trump administration redirecting any defense funding to build a border wall. The Democrats' bill would also require the administration to file lengthy reports to Congress anytime it deployed troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Despite Trump's frequent promises to wind down U.S. involvement in Syria, his administration is also objecting to a provision in the House NDAA that would layer more reporting requirements on sending military aid to Syrian rebel groups.

House Republicans, for their part, have also come out swinging against spending a mere $733 billion on defense in the coming fiscal year, with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R–Texas) saying that House Democrats' "arbitrarily lower budget" puts vital programs at risk.

This back and forth between the White House and House Democrats obscures just how marginal the debate over this latest defense spending bill really is. Regardless of whether we settle on a $733 billion or a $750 billion NDAA, we will still be spending far too much on a bloated and overextended military that is tasked with doing much more than just protecting the U.S. homeland.

"It's absurd that the U.S. thinks the only way we can be secure is if we spend $750 billion or $733 billion," the Cato Institute's Christopher Preble, a defense policy scholar, told Reason back in June when was first surfacing. "The problem is we have defined our grand strategy very broad so that the only way we can be secure is if the whole planet is secure."

The narrow range of debate on this year's NDAA shows how little interest most members of Congress have in a more comprehensive review of our defense priorities.

At times, Trump has expressed skepticism about some of our overseas interventions. However, his administration's latest veto threat demonstrates that he too is committed to funding the U.S. military's current role as global policeman.

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  1. Its fun when Presidents and Congress pass the buck on budget cuts and worthwhile military programs to future Presidents.

    CBO – Defense budget analysis

    So, the defense budget can be a very complex discussion but the general outline is that there are personnel costs, existing equipment costs, and R&D/Replacement program costs.

    Evidently, our nuclear forces need updating and the military has an aging aviation fleet, especially fuel tanker aircraft.

    With that being said, of course, our military budget can be cut. We need to have the government focus on weapon systems that are proven to keep any new enemies at bay which include submarines, aircraft, and missiles. Drones seem like a cheap option and dont risk pilots. Close overseas US military bases and forward deploy US equipment under military alliance agreements. Do more Joint Military exercises with foreign militaries. End the endless wars.

    1. The best way to save on defense spending is to use our military for… defense. I’m not sure how much we’re spending in Afghanistan every day, but bringing our troops home from there would be a pretty good start.

      1. Fuck Afghanistan, how about we finally bring our troops home from Germany and Japan?!?!?

        1. That’s just what Putin wants us to do.

          *eyes Brandybuck suspiciously*

          1. Your suspicion of Brandybuck is exactly what Putin wants…

            1. Your suspicion of Brandybuck is exactly what Putin wants…

              How would you know?

              *eyes Tom Bombadil suspiciously*

              1. Adam Schiff told me.

                *wiggles eyebrows uncontrollably*

              2. Never trust a Took or a Brandybuck…

      2. The best way to save on defense spending is to use our military for… defense.

        The US military is in fewer conflicts than they were in 10 years ago yet somehow the spending is even higher. I don’t think it matters whether the military is defending or aggressing. Congressmen absolutely must lobby for the maximum amount of spending for their district and state. That’s what they see as the main goal and purpose of their job.

      3. For those interested, FY2019 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) totaled $69B, with $61.6B on Middle East operations.

        Looks like I found a way for Trump to save more than the $17B he’s squabbling about. Just do what you said you would do, Mr. President, and bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

        1. We have to fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here.

          1. SAY! And we can fight them here and there. We can fight them EVERYWHERE! I do so like war and ham (pork). Thank you thank you Crusty-I-Am.

      4. How would we use our military for defense, leo?
        If we bring them home, what will they defend?
        I know you’re not going to say “our borders”

        1. +1000000

          Haha. Nice one Nardz.

        2. How about waiting until there is something to defend against?

          1. There are. Millions and millions of invaders who cross our border without permission.

            1. Yep- lc the moron is afraid of families running from drug violence. They’re coming for you!

              1. Poor troll. Illegals running from socialism.

                Hey new troll. I love to call ICE and have them pick up illegals working on nearby farms. I have a direct line to send those caballeros back to banana land.

                1. You sound like a horrible psychopath.

                  1. Tony, you ARE a horrible psychopath.

                    Which is why you think dissenters are psychos.

              2. wearingit
                July.10.2019 at 6:41 pm
                “Yep- lc the moron is afraid of families running from drug violence.”

                This is a shitstain in love with government efforts, *except* in his imbecility, that he hopes to government will do right *this time*.
                IOWs, he’s a fucking lefty ignoramus, due all the respect that position requires.
                Fuck off and die, shitstain.

            2. “There are. Millions and millions of invaders who cross our border without permission.”

              That should come in under $750Billion.

          2. Sounds like a good plan to me, Zeb.

          3. So we can put you and Leo into the anti-vaxxer camp?

        3. Sure as soon as the Canadian or Mexican armies start sending tanks over the border, attacking ports, and bombing airfields we should kick the hell out of them.
          Otherwise I have a problem with using soldiers for law enforcement.

          1. You misspelled national defense.

            Its a common use of soldiers to protect borders.

            Thanks for playing.

            1. It is illegal to use the federal military to arrest or detain civilian asylum seekers or border crossers. Actually when they have been used at the southern border they build facilities, put up barriers or razor wire, or act as reconnaissance.

              They are not allowed to touch the border crossers. If they see them they call the border patrol.

              It is very dangerous to give military civilian police powers that is why we have laws against it.

              If more border security is what you want hire more border patrol agents. They have the legal power to do that and are specifically trained for that job.

              The job of the military is to destroy the enemy. Sure they can assist in other things but the primary focus should to defend against military threats. You don’t want to turn them into policemen.

              1. LC doesn’t understand the difference between a wartime enemy and a person who commits a civil infraction if that person is Mexican.

                But in fairness to LC, it could just be because he’s a Russian troll and doesn’t understand US law too good.

                1. Tony is so sad, the best he can come up with is trying to take other down as trolls like he is.

                  I mean, Tony should just admit that he is here to boost web traffic as a troll.

              2. Protecting borders does not just involve arresting illegals for invading the USA.

                Defending the border is exactly what militaries are used for.

                I guess you dont want to see the Armed US military at border checkpoints protecting the USA.

  2. Let him veto it. Then let congress override his veto. Or not. It’s how our system works.

    But really, vetoing the bill because it’s not spending enough is downright stupid. Vetoing because it’s not directing funds are places you want is one thing, but vetoing merely because it doesn’t have a magical number in the total is stupid. Assclown levels of stupid.

    1. It sounds like the actual comment from the white house was specific. They don’t like that the House is providing less funding for nuclear stuff, etc. They aren’t opposing the bill simply because the number isn’t high enough (as the title of this article might lead you to believe.)

  3. The Democrats’ bill would also require the administration to file lengthy reports to Congress anytime it deployed troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

    The bill would also require Congress to declare war in awkward AUMF situations, right? RIGHT?!

  4. Most libertarian President evah!

    Hm, only ten comments? I wonder why.

    1. Actually increased military spending is good.

    2. Chipper Morning Wood
      July.10.2019 at 2:48 pm
      “Most libertarian President evah!”

      True, and this is one of his fuck-ups.
      Do idiots like you assume liking most of what he’s done means liking everything?
      Stupidity cannot be cured, but we can hope it’s fatal.

    3. What do you expect anyway? This isn’t important stuff like who is banning whom on Twitter.

    4. It was shitty article by shitty reason writers who don’t have any real concrete solutions on what to cut from the Defense budget.

      2019 has zero articles on cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from reason.

      1. I think he/she is pointing out that Trump cultists like you will excuse anything the orange balloon comes up with, no matter how dumb.

        At least you have that in common with your dear leader.

        1. “I think he/she is pointing out that Trump cultists like you will excuse anything the orange balloon comes up with, no matter how dumb.
          At least you have that in common with your dear leader.”

          TDS is commonly presents as an infantile tendency to invent supposedly insulting ‘names’ for Trump.
          Often enough, a 3rd-grade class will find them amusing; by the time kids get to the 4th grade, the ‘names’ are considered too stupid to be amusing.
          Of course, it could have nothing to do with TDS. It could be just the early stages of terminal stupidity.

        2. Man, this new troll is really butthurt.

        3. Except nobody here is defending trump… when your best argument is a strawman you become little baby jeffrey.

  5. RRW is a thing that should’ve happened a long time ago. IIRC, the W88 is the newest nuclear warhead in the arsenal, and it’s from 1988. And they only made 400 of them. Which sounds like a lot, until you realize that each Ohio submarine needs 24X4 of the things. At least it isn’t 24×14 anymore.

    They’ve cancelled RRW, RNEP, and a slew of other designs. Without underground testing, we’re pretty sure everything still works, but there’s no way to be certain.

    Are they still trying to find a replacement for, or the fabrication know-how for FOGBANK?

  6. It is all a boondoggle. We need at the most half of what we have now for a defense force.

    1. And that would be more than enough if the Euros actually provided for their own defense.

  7. Guns and butter. Trump is worse than LBJ.

  8. Saw today that Iranian fast boats tried to capture a British flagged tanker in the straights. There was a US plane overhead.

    Fortunately a British naval frigate was escorting the tanker. They are specifically equipped for escort duty with 30mm guns that can take out fast boats.

    The Brits showed up and the Iranians retreated. Well done sailors.

    Not a comment on the whole Iran situation and how we got here. Last thing I want is a war. Just looks like we are at the point where there needs to be escorts and surveillance.

  9. But the Trump administration is the sole actor who is responsible for “worsening the nuclear environment.”

    Can I hit baseballs at my china hutch and then demand someone else pay for worsening the dish situation?

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