Senate Passes NDAA

The Senate on Thursday approved its version of the $612 billion Fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill with a vote of 71-25. President Obama previously threatened to veto the legislation, which bolsters Pentagon spending through an additional $38.9 billion in overseas contingency operations funds. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday voiced his support for a White House veto, saying the OCO-boosted budget prohibits the Defense Department from much-needed stable long-term funding. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a statement said he hopes the “overwhelming, bipartisan vote … will encourage the President to abandon his misguided veto threat.” McCain called the bill an “ambitious piece of legislation” that “is an important first step towards” reforming DOD, curbing “Pentagon waste,” and investing in “modernization and next-generation technologies to maintain our military technological advantage.” SASC Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) voted against the measure, saying it was “seriously flawed” because of the inflated OCO funding. “Instead of dodging fiscal responsibility, Republicans need to help end sequestration and get back to a normal budget process,” said Reed in a June 18 statement.