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(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration is threatening to veto a $643 billion defense authorization bill due to be debated in the U.S. House this week. Its objections range from missile defense at home to the president’s authority to conduct policy abroad.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a policy statement Wednesday, outlining eight pages of administration objections arising from the National Defense Authorization Bill for fiscal year 2013.
It says President Obama’s “senior advisors” recommend that he veto the bill, H.R. 4310, if its cumulative effects “impede the ability of the Administration to execute the new defense strategy and to properly direct scarce resources.”
Protection of Certain Religious and Moral Beliefs
The Administration strongly objects to sections 536 and 537 because those provisions adopt unnecessary and ill-advised policies that would inhibit the ability of same-sex couples to marry or enter a recognized relationship under State law. Section 536 would prohibit all personnel-related actions based on certain religious and moral beliefs, which, in its overbroad terms, is potentially harmful to good order and discipline. Section 537 would obligate DOD to deny Service members, retirees, and their family members access to facilities for religious ceremonies on the basis of sexual orientation, a troublesome and potentially unconstitutional limitation on religious liberty.
Other provisions in the bill opposed by the administration include:
--A prohibition for spending on additional rounds of military base realignment and closures.
--Limitations on reduction in the numbers of soldiers and Marines: The 2013 DOD budget request calls for the shedding of 80,000 U.S. Army posts and 20,000 U.S. Marine Corps posts within five years, as part of the DOD’s attempt to find $487 billion in cuts over the next decade.
TRICARE Fees and Co-Payments:
The Administration agrees that retirees deserve a quality health care benefit. For this very reason, the Administration strongly supports its requested TRICARE fee initiatives that seek to control the spiraling health care costs of the Department of Defense (DOD) while keeping retired beneficiaries' share of these costs well below the levels experienced when the TRICARE program was implemented in the mid-1990s. The projected FY 2013 TRICARE savings of $1.8 billion and $12.9 billion through FY 2017 are essential for DOD to successfully address rising personnel costs. DOD needs these savings to balance and maintain investments for key defense priorities. The Administration is very disappointed that the Committee did not support the proposed TRICARE fee increases and included section 718, which, while supporting some fee increases, caps them at levels below those allowed under current law and below the requested authorization. If section 718 remains in the bill, it would only provide five year savings of $2.6 billion.