Alexander: Obama Veto on Bipartisan National Defense Bill Hurts Our Troops and National Security

Legislation would have increased pay for armed forces and enabled commanders to arm additional personnel at domestic bases

Posted on October 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 22 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) made the following statement today after President Obama vetoed the bipartisan fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act:

“This bill impacts more than 40,000 people at Ft. Campbell, the Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington and throughout Tennessee. It not only would have increased pay for military personnel but it also would have allowed commanders to arm certain personnel on domestic military bases in response to the tragic shooting in Chattanooga in July that killed five service members,” Alexander said. “Further, this legislation included national defense spending priorities that met President Obama’s request. This bill had wide bipartisan support, and Obama’s veto could harm our troops and make the nation less secure.”

The Senate passed the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act conference report on Oct. 7 with a vote of 70 to 27. The legislation would have authorized $604.2 billion for the following energy, military and national defense programs:

  • The bill authorized a 1.3 percent pay increase for members of the military, including troops at Ft. Campbell and the Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, and authorized more than 30 bonuses and special payments for service men and women.
  • The bill required the Sec. of Defense to establish and implement a process by which military commanders in the U.S. can authorize certain personnel to carry a firearm. This new process is being adopted in response to the tragic shooting in Chattanooga on July 16, 2015 as well as the 2009 shootings in Little Rock and Ft. Hood.
  • The bill implemented a new retirement compensation system that would have taken effect for service members who join the military after January 1, 2018, and would have provided for government matching contributions for service members who contributed to a Thrift Savings Plan.
  • The bill prohibited detainees at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to the United States.
  • The bill authorized construction of a new Special Operations Headquarters and classrooms at Ft. Campbell.
  • The bill eliminated $11 billion in excessive and unnecessary spending and reinvested those savings in our military.
  • The bill authorized funding for our nation’s nuclear stockpile, a replacement strategic missile submarine, defense-related environmental cleanup, and nuclear energy programs at the Dept. of Energy.

 

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