President Signs Defense Policy Bill

President Obama signed H.R. 1540, the Fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, into law, despite his reservations about language in the legislation on the military detainment of suspected terrorists. “The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it,” said Obama in a White House statement released after he signed the bill on Dec. 31. “In particular,” he said he had “serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists.” Obama said he ultimately decided to sign this bill because Congress revised language “that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security, and liberty of the American people.” The act authorizes $662.4 billion for national defense programs, including $530.0 billion for the Pentagon’s base budget, $115.5 billion for overseas contingency operations in places like Afghanistan, and $16.9 billion for Energy Department national security activities. Congress completed the bill in mid December. (See also AFPS report by Karen Parrish.)