Thornberry urges Obama to sign defense bill

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PRESS RELEASE: The first National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to be passed during U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry’s (R-Clarendon) chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee has been sent to President Obama’s desk. The President said he will veto the bipartisan bill because Congress has not agreed to increase funding for the IRS, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other domestic programs.

The bill authorizes nearly $612 billion in spending for national defense. It includes a pay raise for the troops and funding for Sheppard Air Force Base, the Pantex Plant, and the V-22 Osprey program at Bell Helicopter’s Military Aircraft Assembly Center in Amarillo. The funding in the bill is consistent with the House Budget Resolution that balances the federal budget and reduces government spending by $5.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

This morning, Thornberry participated in a press conference where he urged the President to sign the NDAA. A full transcript of his remarks is below.

You can also download videos from CNN & C-SPAN of the press conference and a photo of Thornberry (photo credit: Nicholas Mikula) from last night’s NDAA House and Senate signing ceremony here: https://thornberry.box.com/s/dcvs95s6ynm4o215ff0ok6m6crf9l9ao

“Among the headlines today is Bashar al-Assad going to Moscow to thank Mr. Putin for saving his regime; 22 Afghan policemen were murdered by the Taliban; an F-18 apparently crashed in England. Meanwhile, there are thousands of men and women strapping on their body armor, getting ready to go on patrol or fly their aircraft to protect the United States.

“It would be absolutely wrong for us to play political games with them and with the support that they depend upon. As has been mentioned, included in this bill is a reform for military retirement. Today, 83 percent of the people who serve in the military walk away with no retirement.

“This bill changes that. There are reforms that make sure that if someone is on a [pharmaceutical] drug when they are in the military to treat post- traumatic stress or pain management, they can stay on the same drug when they move to the V.A. system. That’s not happening today.

“There are a number of reforms that are beginning to improve the way that the Pentagon buys goods and services. All of that goes away with a veto of this bill. It would be unprecedented. It is time for the president to put our troops and national security first. He should sign the bill.”

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