White House Bashes Defense Spending Bill That Would Make It Harder To Close Gitmo

| by Ethan Brown
article imagearticle image

A new defense budget plan crafted by Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas is receiving unusual public criticism from the Obama administration over the proposed legislation’s attempts to hinder President Barack Obama’s goal of closing the controversial Guantanamo Bay, located in Cuba.

On April 28, the White House lambasted the $604 billion proposal from Rep. Thornberry, the current Chairman of the House Armed and Services Committee. While the committee has yet to begin any debate or negotiation on the proposal, White House spokesperson Jennifer Freidman warned that the President would take all steps available to stop the budget plan from becoming law, but did not threaten the use of a veto. The White House also disapproves of the GOP's proposed increase in the defense budget, without matching the increase in domestic, non-defense programs.

“These reforms are designed to recruit and retain America’s best and brightest, ensure that our forces maintain their technological edge, and to balance resources from the tail to the tooth of the force,” Thornberry said.

The Texas Republican’s proposal includes reforms that would make it more difficult for President Obama to release detainees currently located in Guantanamo Bay, the prison located in Cuba that has become notoriously known for its “enhanced interrogation” techniques used during the George W. Bush administration shortly after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Another reform would restore funding to the fleet of A-10 aircrafts that the Pentagon has previously said are too expensive and has expressed a desire to retire, the Associated Press reported.

The White House also disapproves of the GOP's proposed increases in the defense budget, since they offer no way to match the increases in domestic, non-defense programs. And Obama isn't the only one worried about the defense spending increases in the budget plan. High ranking members of the Republican Party in Congress have also spoken up in opposition to the budget plan. Part of the controversy is the millions of dollars for defense spending that some Republican lawmakers have advocated for; Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Mike Crapo of Idaho have objected to the idea of using CHIMPS, or changes in mandatory spending, to cover the costs of defense funding. While CHIMPS is commonly used in policy and budget making, the Senators believe that their budget would no longer be balanced if this method were to be utilized, Fox News reported. Instead, Congress would have to rely on follow-up legislation to truly balance the budget.

Sources: Fox News, The Associated Press via U.S. and World News

Photo Credit: IVisitor Guide, WikiCommons