White House threatens veto over provisions of Defense authorization act

White House senior advisers are threatening to recommend that President Bush veto the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2006 if it includes any provisions requiring the establishment of a national commission on detainee operations or to regulate the detention, treatment or trial of suspected terrorists.

Two other provisions also drew White House ire: a measure that would reduce funding for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission by $376 million and modify its authority, and 'buy American' amendments aimed at limiting foreign suppliers' business with the Pentagon.

The Office of Management and Budget today issued a Statement of Administration Policy supporting passage of the bill but calling on the Senate to make specific changes. The bill has been placed on the Senate calendar for a vote.

There are several other provisions of the bill that the White House took exception with, including:
  • a $308.3 million funding reduction in the Joint Tactical Radio System, plus 'deep cuts' in the Transformational Satellite Program and Space Radar;
  • language requiring the Defense Department to establish a contract support acquisition center at the Defense Logistics Agency and each of the military services;
  • a $200 million reduction in funding for the Pentagon's integrated financial management improvement plan;
  • an amendment to require private sector bidders on competitive sourcing contracts to provide data on their employee health benefits;
  • a mandated 15 percent increase in the Defense Department's acquisition workforce over the next three years;
  • authorization for the Pentagon to conduct reconnaissance using unmanned aerial vehicles along U.S. borders.

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