White House threatens veto of defense bill
The statement on the National Defense Authorization Act (posted here) lists a number of objections to the legislation, including language which limits transfers of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, authorizations for various weapons programs not requested by the Pentagon, restrictions on U.S. force realignment in Japan, and limits on military use of alternative fuels.
The statement says President Barack Obama's senior advisers would recommend a veto of the bill if passed "in its current form."
How seriously Congress will take the threat is unclear because Obama has retreated from such threats in the past, citing changes which he said made the earlier measures more palatable if still distasteful to him.
"When he signed past versions of this legislation, the President objected to the restrictions [on Guantanamo transfers], promised to work towards their repeal, and warned the Congress that the restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries would in certain circumstances interfere with constitutional responsibilities committed to the Executive Branch," the statement issued by the Office of Management and Budget acknowledges. "Since these restrictions have been on the books, they have limited the Executive's ability to manage military operations in an ongoing armed conflict, harmed the country's diplomatic relations with allies and counterterrorism partners, and provided no benefit whatsoever to our national security. The Administration continues to believe that restricting the transfer of detainees to the custody of foreign countries in the context of an ongoing armed conflict interferes with the Executive's ability to make important foreign policy and national security determinations, and would in certain circumstances violate constitutional separation of powers principles."
The weapons programs which the White House is objecting to include F/A-18E/F Navy Fighters and upgrades to the M-1 Abrams tank. The administration also opposes a provision that would block funding for the MEADS missile defense system.
The statement also says "the administration strongly objects" to a provision making some funding to Pakistan contingent on that country meetings certain conditions.
POLITICO obtained the statement from a reliable source outside the administration. It was not immediately released to the press, but is posted at this writing on the OMB website.
UPDATE (Thursday, 1:42 P.M.): This post has been updated with a reference to sourcing.